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Omicron detected in Boulder County wastewater, showing low community transmission

Gov. Jared Polis and state epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy shared data Tuesday on cases and hospitalizations showing the impact of a third vaccine dose.

DENVER — State data show that a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine significantly reduces the risk of getting sick or hospitalized from the virus, state epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy said at a briefing on Tuesday.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and Herlihy held the briefing at 1 p.m. Tuesday on the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Herlihy showed data gathered by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) that show those who get a booster dose are 2.4 times less likely to contract COVID-19 than those who haven't.

About 41% of Coloradans who are eligible for a booster of a COVID-19 vaccine have gotten that third dose, Polis said. As more people get the booster, the data are expected to show a larger impact, Herlihy said.

"To those who have been standing by, it's time to step up and get protected," Polis said.

> Click here to find out where you can get vaccinated.

Credit: CDPHE
Credit: CDPHE

The governor's update comes as 1,419 people were hospitalized for COVID-19 in Colorado. The state's seven-day positivity rate was 8.62% as of Monday, Dec. 6.

Last week, Colorado detected its first cases of the omicron variant, in patients from Arapahoe and Boulder counties. The delta variant continues to account for all other cases in the state, as it has since August.

> Watch: 9Health Expert Dr. Payal Kohli discusses the latest news on the omicron variant

Herlihy said that CDPHE's wastewater surveillance system has picked up the omicron variant in Boulder County. She said that points to low community transmission of the variant, though CDPHE doesn't yet know how many cases there might be in the community.

CDPHE plans to test specimens from PCR testing in Boulder County to get a clearer picture of transmission, she said. The variant seems to be more transmissible but causes less severe symptoms according to early studies, Herlihy said.

The omicron variant was confirmed in the United States on Dec. 1 and has been found in more than a dozen states.

RELATED: LIST: Where have omicron cases been confirmed in the US?

Polis said that many people have faced challenges in booking a booster appointment at a local pharmacy. 

> Watch Tuesday's full press conference

The governor listed several locations for vaccinations. Each of the clinics recommends getting an appointment, but they can accommodate walk-ins if the doses are available. The sites Polis listed are:

Arapahoe Community College (Lot B) - 5900 S Santa Fe Drive, Littleton CO, 80120

Aurora Municipal Center (drive-thru) - 15151 E Alameda Pkwy, Aurora, CO 80012

Chapel Hills Mall - 1710 Briargate Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO 80920

Citadel Mall (parking lot next to JCPenney) - 680 Citadel Dr E, Colorado Springs CO, 80909

Douglas County Fairgrounds - 500 Fairgrounds Rd, Castle Rock, CO

Jogan Health, LLC Tri-County (in Jefferson Marketplace) - 500 Fairgrounds Road, Castle Rock CO, 80104 

La Plata County Fairgrounds - 2500 Main Ave, Durango, CO 81301

Pueblo Mall - 3201 Dillon Drive, Pueblo, CO 81008

Weld County Clerk and Recorder Building - 1250 H Street, Greeley, CO 80631

  • Hours of operation: Tuesday - Saturday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 8:30 a.m. - 6:10 p.m.; Wednesday, 12:30 - 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, 8:30 a.m - 12:30 p.m.

  • Register online for an appointment

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