By Danielle Chavira

WESTMINSTER, Colo. (CBS4) – Cars were bumper to bumper on Wednesday in Westminster. Everyone at the Front Range Community College were trying to get a COVID-19 test.

It’s been a common scene in the last several days as some Coloradans spend time with friends and family, and as the omicron variant spreads in the state.

(credit: CBS)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned on Wednesday rapid tests are not quite as effective at detecting the omicron variant. They suggest using a PCR test.

“I think we’re all expecting a surge, even if everyone is not saying it outright,” Dr. Kenneth Lyn-Kew, a critical care specialist with National Jewish Health, told CBS4.

According to Lyn-Kew, the surge could lead to further strains on testing and hospitals, but in a different way than earlier in the pandemic.  

(credit: CBS)

The omicron variant accounts for 91% of infections in Colorado now. The state’s testing positivity rate is also up sharply – now over 15%.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment says even though there are more breakthrough cases of omicron, symptoms for vaccinated people tend to be very mild.

CDPHE adds it is changing its isolation guidelines to align with the CDC’s.

“And now we have omicron and the incubation period is even shorter, one to three days. So if I had been exposed on Christmas Day, I would likely have had my symptoms of Tuesday of this week,” said Dr. France, Chief Medical Officer at CDPHE.

Danielle Chavira