Local doctors believe the omicron variant may soon arrive in Colorado

DENVER (KDVR) – A new variant of coronavirus has been detected in parts of Europe and Africa, but doctors in Colorado said they are already working to track it locally.

Doctors believe that the omicron variant of coronavirus will eventually arrive in Colorado.

The nasal swab or PCR test is what doctors said they use to detect new strains of coronavirus.

“What they are doing is that they will select random samples of COVID PCR tests that have been brought in,” said Dr. Carrie Horn.

Horn, chief physician at National Jewish Health, said COVID-positive samples will then have their genome sequences mapped.

“(We) try to see if it matches the original version of the virus or with the delta variant, or does it fit one of the new variants that have been identified, or is it completely different,” Horn said.

Recent travel restrictions are a measure to prevent any new variant from spreading faster than it can be traced.

“With how people move around in our society, and how global we are as a society, it’s really hard to follow,” Horn said.

Horn said contact tracking is one way they are able to gain control over where any new variants may be at any given time.

“If there are a lot of cases where everyone said ‘Oh, I was in this place,’ it might give us a clue about transmission,” Horn said.

Expecting the unwelcome result of the omicron variant arriving in Colorado helps doctors prepare to treat it and track it.

“It’s likely it’s already here, or if not, it’s going to be here very soon,” Horn said.

There is one concern that the virus may be resistant to current prevention methods.

“The concern is that if it has mutated too far, your vaccine may be a little less effective,” Horn said.

Tracking any instances of the omicron variant or new variants is a task Horn said the state has helped health workers like her be prepared to deal with.

“When the omicron finally arrives, we will be ready to identify it and capture it,” Horn said.

The best measure you can take is to be fully vaccinated and receive your booster, Horn said.

Anyone over the age of 18 in Colorado is currently eligible to receive it.

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