New Variant of Concern, Omicron, identified by the World Health Organization
Scientists and public health partners are working to learn more about this variant. CDC will continue to provide updates as we learn more.
The Delta variant is still the only variant detected in Colorado at this time. Everyone 5 years and older can protect themselves from COVID-19 by getting fully vaccinated, or getting a vaccine booster dose which is recommended for all persons 18 years and older. Follow other prevention strategies including wearing a mask in public indoor settings (required in Adams and Arapahoe Counties), washing your hands frequently, and physically distancing from others.
TCHD closely monitoring COVID-19 Delta variant
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and TCHD are closely monitoring the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus. The state identified the first Colorado case of the Delta variant on May 5 in Mesa County.
As of June 22, the variant had been identified in 28 Colorado counties and accounts for approximately three-quarters of COVID-19 infections in Colorado. Early studies suggest that the Delta variant spreads more easily from one person to another and might cause more severe disease or hospitalization.
There is a way to protect yourself from infection with the Delta variant – get vaccinated! The current vaccines remain effective against the Delta variant. If you are vaccinated with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine then be sure to receive both doses for full protection.
Variants are Common
When a virus is widely spreading in the community and causing infections, it is more likely to mutate or change. A virus that has changed or mutated is called a variant.
Changes to the virus are usually harmless. However, sometimes the changes are more concerning. Changes could make the virus:
- easier to spread from one person to another
- cause more severe illness
- less treatable with the current treatments
- less responsive to the vaccines, making it less effective
Stopping the Spread of the Virus is Key to Stopping New Variants from Circulating
Slowing down the spread of COVID-19 is key to lowering the chance that new variants will develop. The best ways to prevent the spread of any COVID-19 virus remain the same:
- Practice Safe Six: stay 6 feet apart, wear a mask, wash your hands, be extra safe if you are higher risk, stay home if sick, get tested if you have symptoms.
- Register today to get your vaccine.
Some COVID-19 Variants are Concerning
New forms, or variants, that cause COVID-19 are circulating around the world and in Colorado. If you were to test positive for COVID-19 today, it’s more likely that you were exposed to a variant strain. Several seem to spread more easily and are of concern. These are their scientific designations, along with their more recent names that come from the Greek alphabet:
- B.1.1.7: Alpha
- B.1.351: Beta
- P.1: Gamma
- B.1.617.2: Delta
- B.1.1.529: Omicron
Current data shows the COVID-19 vaccines should work against current variants. Along with getting the vaccine as soon as one becomes available to you, continue to be safe by wearing masks and social distancing in public places, and avoiding large crowds.
Colorado is Testing and Monitoring for Variants
Testing is being done through the Colorado Department of Health and Environment to find variants in Colorado. Contact tracing is then conducted to help stop the spread of the new variant in the community it is located in.
COVID-19 Vaccines May Work Against Some Variants
The currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines are effective at reducing or preventing serious illness and death caused by COVID-19. Research is underway to determine the level of protection the current vaccines have on new variants.
- State of Colorado Public Health Variant FAQs
- Center for Disease Control (CDC): About Variants of the Virus that Causes COVID-19
- World Health Organization (WHO): Virus Variants and their Effects on COVID-19 Vaccines