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COVID-19 'stealth omicron' variant detected in Denver

The COVID-19 BA.2 variant has been detected in both wastewater and human specimens, according to DDPHE.

DENVER — On Friday, the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE) reported a detection of the COVID-19 BA.2 variant, also known as the "stealth variant".

The variant has been detected in both wastewater and human specimens, according to DDPHE.

"At this time, based on current data and projections from federal and state partners, the Denver Department of Public Health & Environment (DDPHE) is not concerned about a surge in cases as seen with previous COVID-19 variants," DDPHE said in a release.

>Video above is a 9NEWS story about COVID cases in Europe spread from a stealth variant.

While there may be an increase in the percentage of cases identified as the stealth variant, DDPHE anticipates low transmission due to increased vaccination rates and natural immunity from recent infections of the omicron variant.

RELATED: Moderna seeks FDA authorization for 4th dose of COVID shot

WATCH: Dr. Michelle Barron of UCHealth on 'stealth variant,' says there's no guarantee future COVID variants will continue to step down in severity

As the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) ends its free COVID-19 rapid-test mail delivery program, other options are available to Denver residents who need test kits:

  • Free COVID-19 rapid tests are available for pick up at all Denver Recreation Centers during regular operating hours (except for La Alma, which is currently closed). Each test kit contains two tests and residents are eligible to receive up to two free test kits while supplies last.
  • Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order four free at-home tests, containing two tests per box, from the federal government. Those who have already ordered the first set may order another set.
  • At-home test kits are available for purchase on retail websites like Amazon, CVS, Walmart and Walgreens.
  • In-person and drive-thru testing is available at pharmacies and drug stores like Walgreens, CVS, King Soopers and Safeway.

By March 31, Colorado will no longer offer mass, drive-thru vaccination clinics. Vaccines will still be available through local health care providers and mobile bus clinics. Bus clinics will operate at least through June, DDPHE said.

DDPHE urges everyone to be mindful and take precautions when going about their daily lives. If you feel sick, stay home.

Denver County Current Status     

*Numbers represent data as of Friday, Mar. 18 and are subject to change.

Denver residents 5 and older initiating vaccination – 1st dose received: 88.8%

Denver residents 5 and older completing vaccination – Fully vaccinated: N/A%

Denver residents 5 and older receiving booster dose (after initial vaccine series) – 80.3%

Denver one-week cumulative incidence rate: (7-day average of cases per 100,000 population) As of 3/16/22: 30 

Denver one-week average positivity rate*: As of 3/16/22: 1.81% 

Hospitalizations: Persons hospitalized with COVID-19 Denver County: 35 (7-day average as of 3/17/22)

Case Summary: Cumulative Denver positive cases: 166,767 (as of 3/14/22)

Cumulative Denver deaths from COVID-19: 1,282 (as of 3/15/22)

RELATED: Yes, BA.2, or ‘stealth’ omicron, cases have been reported in the U.S.


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