What to do about Omicron over the holidays
As we prepare to gather this holiday season, public health care experts say even the boosted will still need to be careful, thanks to Omicron.
The big picture: Health care systems are already overwhelmed, and a stunningly transmissible new COVID-19 variant that can produce breakthrough infections among vaccinated people is leading to fears of record cases, hospitalizations and deaths, Axios' Tina Reed writes.
- In a Tuesday briefing, Gov. Jared Polis reiterated that the Omicron variant would be the dominant strain of the coronavirus in Colorado in the days or weeks ahead.
What they're saying: "We are absolutely seeing early impacts of Omicron here locally in Denver and seeing upticks in cases and outbreaks," the city's public health director Danica Lee tells us.
- "The safest gatherings are going to be those at which everyone is vaccinated and boosted," Lee says.
- She recommends getting tested before meeting with family members — specifically those who are immunocompromised and under the age of 5.
- "If you don't have access to a rapid test, it's probably not worth the risk of potentially spreading COVID right now," Lee advises.
Yes, but: Tuesday was the deadline to get a more-accurate PCR test from the state and ensure results before Christmas Eve — and a lot of screening appointments were full, we found.
- Denver vaccine testing sites and officials warned if you get one closer to Christmas, you may face a delay in getting results or appointments.
The bottom line: Coloradans who have received all three doses of the vaccine are 47 times less likely to be hospitalized with the coronavirus than people who are unvaccinated, state health officials say.
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