Southwest Colorado health officials anticipate omicron surge

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SAN JUAN COUNTY, N.M. – The omicron variant is also causing a surge in cases in southwest Colorado, and health officials there say this kind of surge is something they haven’t seen before during this pandemic.

"Really, just starting this weekend, we have seen a tremendous increase in the number of positive cases that we are getting back in our community. We now stand at the highest prevalence of infection in our communities that we have seen at any time during this pandemic," said Liane Jollon, San Juan Basin Public Health executive director.

The first omicron case in La Plata County was reported in mid-December. As of recently, the seven-day case incidence rate in La Plata County was reported at 2,097 cases per 100,000 residents.

In Archuleta County, the rate was 1,167 cases.

As for testing, San Juan Basin Public Health has received 580 positive tests in the past 72 hours.

"During the delta wave here in our jurisdiction, we were testing about 4,000 people a day. We have seen in the last week that climb up consistently over 5,000-6,000 we’ve had days with 9,000 people going through the community test sites provided by the state of Colorado," said Jollon.

Jollon said at this point the capacity at local test sites is not maxed out and remains open.

With the omicron variant present in southwest Colorado, health officials hope people take the proper precautions.

"Right now, today in the state of Colorado, our hospitalizations have exceeded the peak of hospitalizations on the delta wave just a few weeks ago. So this is really the time to follow precautions and keep ourselves, our families our neighbors and our community safe."