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AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — UCHealth labs run thousands of COVID-19 tests a day. A certain percentage of the positive tests are then sent to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s lab for genetic sequencing, and that is where variants are detected.

“I know they take a percentage of them from all the different hospitals and do sequence analysis,” said Dr. Michelle Barron, the senior medical director of infection prevention at UCHealth.

“Within the next couple of weeks, it would not surprise me at all if we have a couple of cases,” Barron said.

While the variant is of concern, Barron said not to panic.

 “We just don’t have all that information in hand yet,” she said.

Studies are underway right now to determine if omicron is more transmissible, the severity of the symptoms, and how effective current treatments and vaccines are against it.

Drugmakers are ready to take action if needed. 

“If this turns out to be a serious threat that needs a new vaccine, I think we’ll have it within a couple of months,” Barron said.

In the meantime, she said UCHealth is ready when omicron is detected here.

“It won’t change what we are doing,” Barron said. The hospitals will continue to take the same proven precautions, and people at home should do the same.

The best way to protect yourself from this variant is to get vaccinated and get the booster when eligible she said.