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DENVER (KDVR) — As the omicron variant’s grip tightens in Colorado, lines for COVID-19 testing are growing and demand remains high during the holiday season.

Many Denverites spent a good part of their day waiting on the streets of Downtown Denver Monday.

“The line was another half block down [when I arrived],” said Paul, a Denver man, waiting to be tested Monday morning.

Paul arrived at the 18th and Blake testing location when it opened at 9 a.m.

“I have a little bit of a sore throat, and I just want to make sure it’s not COVID,” he said.

Paul was joined by a mix of those not feeling well or making sure they are good to go for more holiday celebrations.

“I came early,” said Crystal who had just completed a test. “They opened at 9, and I showed up around like 8:40 … [the line] was like wrapped around, and I didn’t get in until 11.”

As people lined sidewalks in Downtown Denver, folks stayed warm in their cars while waiting at Sky Ridge Medical Center in northern Douglas County Monday morning.

With New Year celebrations ahead, doctors are urging people to get tested before they attend gatherings. It might be too soon, however, to know if someone contracted the virus over Christmas.

The CDC said those who are vaccinated should wait to test five to seven days after exposure. Those who are unvaccinated should test immediately. Those who have symptoms should also test immediately regardless of vaccination status.

The latest data in Colorado, which was reported the week of Dec. 12, showed the omicron variant in nearly 10% of positive tests. The state said it plans to release updated statistics Tuesday afternoon.