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U.K. strain of COVID-19 found in Colorado, first case confirmed in U.S.

Credit: KJCT/KKCO
Credit: KJCT/KKCO(KKCO/ KJCT)
Published: Dec. 29, 2020 at 2:57 PM MST
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DENVER, (KJCT) - The new strain of COVID-19 that was first detected in the United Kingdom has been found in Colorado, Governor Polis announced on Tuesday. This marks the first confirmed case of the strain in the United States.

The Colorado State Laboratory notified the Center for Disease Control (CDC) that a COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7 case has been confirmed in the state. The Governor says that the individual is a male in his 20s who is currently in isolation in Elbert County. The young man has no travel history.

The individual is recovering in isolation and will remain there until cleared by public health officials. The individual has no close contacts identified so far, but public health officials are working to identify other potential cases and contacts through contact tracing interviews.

This new strain does not appear to be more deadly, however, U.K. scientists warn that it is significantly more contagious.

“Scientists in the United Kingdom believe the B.1.1.7 variant to be more contagious than previously identified strains of the SARS-CoV-2 variant, though no more severe in symptoms. In addition, the currently approved vaccines are thought to be effective against this variant,” says a press release sent out from 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.”

Governor Polis and State officials will provide further details at a press conference tomorrow morning.

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