DENVER (KDVR) — According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the delta variant of the coronavirus is still the main cause of the majority of COVID cases in the state. But as the omicron strain makes its way across the country, health care workers are preparing it to steal the lead.

“I do expect to start seeing hospitalizations go up based on what we’re hearing around cases,” Dr. Carrie Horn, the chief medical officer of National Jewish Health said.

Horn said the common symptoms for omicron are fever, congestion, runny nose, scratchy throat, shortness of breath, and dry cough. She said unlike the delta variant and original COVID symptoms, the loss of taste and smell isn’t as strong.

“While our volumes of patients in the hospital have gotten better they haven’t gotten as low as we would have liked before we saw another surge,” Horn said.

Horn said COVID is a long strand of MRNA. Once the virus gets inside the human body it makes more and more copies.

“Every time you make a copy of the DNA there is a risk in making a mistake. When you make a mistake in that sometimes it’s nothing and dies out but sometimes it’s a functional change,” Horn said.

She said that’s how we end up with mutations of the coronavirus. Some people are more vulnerable to creating mutations compared to others.

“The problem the most is people who are unvaccinated or people who haven’t built up a good immune response, and the virus just replicates so fast in patients. Especially in a big group, the virus is going around, that increases the risk of mutations as well,” Horn said.

The best thing to do she said is to get vaccinated and absolutely get tested if you have any COVID symptoms.

“The best thing to do for everyone around you and if you have any symptoms that could be COVID please get tested,” Horn said.