As the more transmissible COVID-19 omicron variant takes hold in the metro region and across Colorado, the Metro Denver Partnership for Health (MDPH) is continuing its regional approach to stop the spread of COVID-19 by retaining or extending local public health orders requiring face coverings in indoor public settings.
“Wearing masks indoors slows the spread of respiratory viruses,” said Dawn Comstock, PhD, executive director of Jefferson County Public Health. “Last month’s COVID-19 surge was reduced because people in our communities wore masks and got vaccinated, including booster doses. Continuing these strategies will save lives as we experience the rapid growth of the omicron variant as well as increasing influenza cases. We cannot become complacent.”
Following a steady decline since early December, Colorado’s COVID-19 case rates have again been increasing over the past week, and the test positivity rate has jumped to nearly 10%. Omicron accounted for one in 10 COVID-19 cases in Colorado the week of December 12, and the highly transmissible variant has been detected in all of the state’s wastewater testing sites, suggesting widespread community transmission. Hospital capacity remains very tight and surges in omicron are likely to further aggravate this situation.
“There is still much to learn about the omicron variant,” said Robert Belknap, M.D, interim director of Public Health Institute at Denver Health. “Early reports have described a lower risk of hospitalization, especially for those who have been fully vaccinated and received a booster. Now is the time to get vaccinated or a booster dose. Other safety measures such as wearing masks in public indoor spaces, getting tested for COVID if symptomatic or after an exposure, staying home when ill, and avoiding large indoor gatherings will help prevent losing ground to the omicron variant.”
COVID-19 vaccines are free, readily available to members of the public ages 5 and up, and no ID is required. Information about where to find a vaccine is available online. Booster vaccine doses are recommended for those age 16 and older if it has been six months since the second Pfizer or Moderna dose or two months since a Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Click on the websites below for more information on each county’s COVID-19 orders.
MDPH is led by six public health partners serving the Denver metro area: Boulder County Public Health, Broomfield Department of Public Health and Environment, Denver Department of Public Health & Environment, Jefferson County Public Health, the Public Health Institute at Denver Health, and Tri-County Health Department, serving Adams and Arapahoe counties. MDPH’s work impacts nearly three million Coloradans — 60% of the state’s population — who live in this region. MDPH is supported and staffed by the Colorado Health Institute (CHI). More information can be found on CHI’s website at https://colo.health/MDPH.