Colorado Gov. Jared Polis tests positive for COVID-19, more than 2 months after receiving omicron booster

Health experts urge public to wear high-quality masks as more immune evasive variants gain ground
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Posted at 12:52 PM, Nov 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-23 10:09:58-05

DENVER – Colorado Gov. Jared Polis tested positive for COVID-19 Thursday morning, a little more than two months after receiving the omicron-specific booster targeting the BA.5 variant of the novel coronavirus.

Polis, who received the bivalent omicron booster on Sept. 7, first encountered the virus nearly two years ago. He is currently asymptomatic and will be working from home “with his full schedule until he is no longer contagious,” according to his spokesman.

His office said the governor had been testing regularly for the virus due to a known exposure.

Data on how well the omicron-specific booster shots work in humans is mixed. Some early studies suggest they offer the same level of protection against severe disease and hospitalization as a fourth shot of the original vaccine, while others have found they performed better than the original vaccines.

It’s still unclear how well the newer vaccines work against more immune evasive variants like BQ.1, BQ.1.1 and BF.7 (also known as BA.2.75.2), both in terms of stopping transmission of the virus and reducing the odds of severe disease.

The governor’s office reminded people to stay home if you are sick and to test regularly for 3 to 5 days after a known exposure.

Health experts have gone even further and are urging the public to continue taking other precautions to limit their risk of becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2, such as wearing high-quality masks in areas of substantial or high transmission, avoiding large indoor gatherings if possible, ventilating indoor settings if gathering with family and friends, practicing proper hand hygiene, and following CDC quarantine guidance if you've been exposed or test positive for the virus.

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 in Colorado have risen 74% since the beginning of November, with more than half of Colorado's counties now classified as medium risk based on the number of cases and hospitalizations, according to the CDC. Some counties along the Western Slope, southwestern Colorado and northeastern Colorado were deemed to be at high risk.

As of Thursday, all but nine of Colorado’s 64 counties were areas with substantial or high levels of community transmission for COVID-19.