Apr 25, 2022 - News

COVID cases climb in Colorado amid new Omicron variant

Data: CDPHE; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

COVID infections in Colorado appear to be creeping up to alarming levels thanks in part to a new, seemingly more contagious strain of the Omicron variant spreading throughout the U.S.

Driving the news: The latest Omicron subvariant, BA.2.12.1, now accounts for 12% of cases in Colorado, and the "stealth Omicron" variant BA.2 has become the dominant strain, state epidemiologist Rachel Herlihy told reporters Friday.

  • Meanwhile, Colorado's positivity rate based on PCR test results is hovering at 5%, the key benchmark that sounds the alarm for public health officials.

What they're saying: State modeling shows infections are "likely to continue to increase for several weeks here," Herlihy said.

  • Yes, but: Health officials aren't expecting the surges seen in prior waves, nor do they have evidence "at this point" that the latest strain causes more severe illness, she added.

By the numbers: Colorado's seven-day rolling average of reported infections remains low overall but has doubled to 605 over the last two weeks, data shows.

  • 88 people were hospitalized for the virus as of Friday — 11 more than a week earlier.

State of play: Colorado health officials will close 40 more testing sites by the end of this month.

  • The move comes as the state shifts its strategy to treating COVID-19 as an endemic virus and takes a step back from public monitoring and messaging.

The big picture: COVID is rising across the U.S., with the Northeast accounting for some of the highest case rates, Axios' Tina Reed and Kavya Beheraj report.


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