DENVER — Saturday will mark two years since COVID-19 was detected in Colorado and health leaders said Friday that we're now in the best position we have ever been in when it comes to the virus.
That's due in part to the high vaccination rate and the highly infectious omicron variant which infected so many people that it provided a level of protection to the point where there are few people to infect.
In fact, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Eric France said the infection rate is currently just six per 100,000 people in Colorado.
"So when you walk out your door, your probability of being exposed is quite low," France said. "So everybody should say, given it's low, what am I comfortable with?"
He said some might decide they still want to wear a mask or avoid large gatherings, while others might feel comfortable doing just about anything.
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Case counts have decreased to levels not seen since last summer and the current 7-day moving average is 467 cases. Even though there is not a lot of COVID-19 cases in the community, those who have symptoms of a respiratory illness should get a COVID-19 test, France said.
He said that can help the state track any new trends or potential variants that could cause concern in the future. Those who test positive on a home test are urged to get a PCR test so their results are reported and included in state data.
The state's positivity rate hit a high peak of 29.3% with a surge in cases due to the omicron variant. It's now dropped to 3.63% which is below the goal of 5%.
As of March 3, the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 was 283.
At this point is not clear how long this high level of immunity will last, but health leaders predict that will last into the early summer.
Health leaders said they now need to work to "normalize" COVID-19 into the regular health systems so that people can be tested and immediately get treatments that can reduce their risk of hospitalization.
Last Friday, state leaders said that Coloradans who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can "live life normally."
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) said that for those who are fully vaccinated and not immunocompromised, the risk of death or hospitalization from the virus is "very low."
Three primary factors mean Colorado is now in an endemic rather than a pandemic state, which means the virus is still present, but not disruptive in the way that it once was.
The factors include:
- Wide availability of a vaccine that reduces the risk of death from COVID-19
- Effective therapies to treat COVID-19
- High level of immunity due to vaccination or infection
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