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COVID In Colorado: Health Experts Believe Omicron Might Hit Peak Soon

(CBS4) - Colorado health experts are closely watching other states and parts of the world to help determine Colorado's COVID-19 trajectory. Now, they say the omicron variant is not showing signs of slowing down.

Many experts believe the wave we're in right now may hit its peak in a couple of weeks.

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"I think the modeling is largely based on what has been observed in other countries. Omicron was first recognized in South Africa and then there have certainly been outbreaks in Europe. What we've seen from those areas is a really quick uptick, because the virus is spread so rapidly. We know that people get infected quickly and then it just seems to flame out. So it's only going to hang around for a short period of time, we hope," said Dr. Bill Janssen, head of Critical Care at National Jewish Health.

The data signifies one out of every four people getting tested in Colorado is positive for COVID-19. The seven-day positivity rate in our state is now the highest it's been since the start of the pandemic — at more than 25%.

"So many people have had it, we're bound to see another mutation down the road. We just don't know if it will be a severe mutation, one that causes people to be sick, or whether it be less virulent than Omicron. We don't know," said Janssen.

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Hospitalization are still creeping up. Janssen says the current mutation is milder. While Denver continues to break positivity records, most people getting COVID-19 aren't getting very sick.

"We're seeing patients in the intensive care unit now, but not a huge number. I'm worried that it's just the leading edge. Give it a few more days, and I'm worried that we're going to have a lot more," said Janssen.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment also shared concern about not knowing results of at-home testing.

"We know that there can be interruptions in reporting on cases testing that can happen around holidays and that can lead to some challenges in keeping numbers up to date for cases and having a clear understanding of trends that we're seeing," said Dr. Rachel Herlihy, Colorado's epidemiologist. "We also know that over the last few months, there's been a really rapid proliferation of the use of at home tests, and oftentimes those tests are not reported to public health. We certainly encourage individuals to go to our website and report those cases to us."

LINK: CDPHE At-Home Testing Information

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