1st case of COVID variant discovered in Colorado

COVID-19 in Colorado
COVID-19 in Colorado(AP)
Published: Dec. 29, 2020 at 3:30 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 29, 2020 at 3:55 PM CST
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DENVER (KKTV) - The new COVID-19 variant discovered in the UK made its way to Colorado.

On Tuesday, the Office of Governor Jared Polis announced a man in his 20s is currently in isolation in Elbert County with COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7. The man does not have any travel history, according to the governor’s office. The variant has sparked concern worldwide because of signs that it may spread more easily. While there is no indication it causes more serious illness, several countries in Europe restricted travel from the UK as a result.

The Colorado state lab was the first in the country to quickly identify the variant through sophisticated analysis of testing samples, the release reads.

The currently approved vaccines are thought to be effective against this variant. As of Monday afternoon, more than 67,000 people in Colorado have received a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. As of Tuesday, more than 326,000 cases of COVID-19 have been identified in the Centennial State since the start of the pandemic with more than 2,000,000 tests.

An investigation is underway by state officials, including contact tracing interviews. The man is recovering and is expected to remain in isolation until he is cleared by public health officials.

“There is a lot we don’t know about this new COVID-19 variant, but scientists in the United Kingdom are warning the world that it is significantly more contagious. The health and safety of Coloradans is our top priority and we will closely monitor this case, as well as all COVID-19 indicators, very closely. We are working to prevent spread and contain the virus at all levels,” said Governor Jared Polis. “I want to thank our scientists and dedicated medical professionals for their swift work and ask Coloradans to continue our efforts to prevent disease transmission by wearing masks, standing six feet apart when gathering with others, and only interacting with members of their immediate household.”

More information on this recent discovery is expected to be released Wednesday morning by the governor’s office.

“The fact that Colorado has detected this variant first in the nation is a testament to the sophistication of Colorado’s response and the talent of CDPHE’s scientist and lab operations,” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “We are currently using all the tools available to protect public health and mitigate the spread of this variant.”

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