DENVER, Dec. 29, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — A new strain of COVID-19, the same variant recently discovered in the United Kingdom, has been detected in Elbert County, Colorado, about 50 miles southeast of Denver.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis addressed the discovery Tuesday afternoon in a social media statement:
“Today, Gov. Polis and state health officials announced Colorado’s first case of COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7, the same variant discovered in the UK,” the statement says.
“The Colorado State Laboratory confirmed and notified the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) of the case. The individual is a male in his 20s who is currently in isolation in Elbert County and has no travel history.
“Public health officials are doing a thorough investigation. 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 thorough contact tracing interviews.
“‘There is a lot we don’t know about the COVID-19 variant, but scientists in the United Kingdom are warning the world that it is significantly more contagious,” said Gov. Jared Polis. “‘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 to contain the spread of the virus on all levels. I want to thank our scientists and dedicated medical professionals for their swift work and ask Coloradans to continue our efforts to ease disease transmission by wearing masks, standing six feet apart when gathering with others, and only gather with members of their immediate households.'”
While the new variant is believed more transmissible, scientists in the United Kingdom do not believe it is more lethal than the original form of COVID-19. “We currently have no evidence that the variant is more likely to cause severe disease or mortality – but we are continuing investigations to understand this better,” said a Dec. 14 article published on UK.GOV.
Gephardt Daily will update this story as more information becomes available.