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Omicron variant detected in Colorado woman who recently traveled to Africa

The omicron variant was first identified overseas last week

Jesse Paul and John Ingold
The Colorado Sun
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis speaks during a news conference about Colorado offering coronavirus vaccinations to children, Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021, in Denver.
David Zalubowski/AP file

The omicron COVID-19 variant has been detected in a Colorado woman who recently traveled to countries in southern Africa, Gov. Jared Polis and state public health officials announced Thursday.

The woman lived in Arapahoe County and returned to Colorado late last week.

“She is experiencing minor symptoms and is isolated and recuperating at home,” the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said in a news release. “She had been fully vaccinated and was eligible for the booster vaccine but had not received it yet.”



Colorado is the third U.S. state to detect an omicron case. The first case was detected in California and announced Wednesday. A second case was detected in Minnesota and also announced Thursday.

“At this point,” Polis said during a news conference at the governor’s mansion in downtown Denver, “I’m not terribly alarmed.”



The case was detected through investigation by Tri-County Health Department and CDPHE. After the variant began to emerge around the world, the departments searched through the most recent positive test results here to find people who had reported a recent travel history. That flagged the Arapahoe County woman’s case for full genetic sequencing, which confirmed the infection was caused by the omicron variant.

Dr. Rachel Herlihy, the state epidemiologist, said the woman had recently traveled as a tourist to multiple countries in southern Africa, though she didn’t specify which countries the woman visited. Herlihy said the woman traveled through Denver International Airport. She tested positive a day after returning home when she began experiencing symptoms.

Read more via The Colorado Sun.


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