By Spencer Wilson

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– In the middle of December, Summit and Clear Creek counties case rates for COVID-19 weren’t where health leaders would have liked, but were at least trending downward, if ever so slightly. Not anymore.

(credit: CBS)

“That is literally changing as we speak,” Timothy Ryan, Director of public health for Clear Creek County explained.

“Omicron is alive and well and the numbers are going through the roof, both in Summit and Eagle counties.”

Ryan says even if the variant of the virus has not been officially identified, the spiking case rates have the signature of the faster spreading virus.

Lauren Gilbert with the Summit County Health Department agrees; Omicron is the driving force behind their significant change in positive cases. Their data is showing a 165% increase in tests taken, and an increase from 4 positive cases on Friday of last week, to 112 cases this week.

(credit: CBS)

Pairing that with a ballooning population because of holiday tourism, Gilbert said they are watching the numbers very closely.

“We are significantly impacted by visitors because our population can flux so much during the high season,” Gilbert said.

She expects to see things get better before they get worse. Right now she believes county data posted online is lagging behind what the actual case numbers are and is predicting that holiday gatherings from Thanksgiving are driving the numbers up right now.

She is concerned those numbers could go even higher with Christmas get-togethers days away.

(credit: CBS)

Both Ryan and Gilbert said the best way to fight this increase in cases is the same way as always: get fully vaccinated including a booster shot, wear a mask, and socially distance.

Spencer Wilson