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(December 24, 2021) – The omicron variant was detected in this week’s wastewater treatment testing and has been confirmed as the dominant variant circulating in the east end of the county.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has confirmed that all wastewater treatment testing programs statewide have detected elevated levels of the omicron variant.Public Health has recorded 237 active local cases which includes 225 new cases from test results received since Saturday, December 17. Public Health recognizes that this does not capture all current cases as there are nearly one-hundred test results currently pending.Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed new criteria to shorten isolation periods for health care workers who contract COVID-19 in response to the rising concern over hospital staffing shortages as Omicron cases rapidly spread.The updated guidance includes allowing health care workers who become infected with COVID-19 to work after seven days and a negative test, adding that “isolation time can be cut further if there are staffing shortages.”Public Health encourages residents and visitors to celebrate the holidays with their immediate household, visit with friends and relatives outdoors, and avoid crowded indoor spaces given the significant increase in risk of infection and continued strain on local medical centers and regional hospitals.Symptoms reported that are specific to recent infection with the omicron variant include:• Scratchy throat• Fatigue• Congestion• Fever • Chills and body aches• Shortness of breathIn lieu of testing and regardless of vaccination status, those who are symptomatic should isolate immediately for 10 full days from the onset of symptoms and get tested as soon as possible. Close contacts should isolate from the date of last potential exposure until a PCR test can be taken on day 5, 6 or 7. If an asymptomatic close contact receives a negative test result on or after day 5, isolation may end on day 7. Due to increased demand, beginning this Sunday, December 26, MicroGen Labs will add a COVID testing clinic on Sundays from 12 to 5 pm at Telluride High School. The recurring Sunday clinics will offer saliva PCR COVID tests. Visit bit.ly/smccovidtest to register in advance of testing.