The COVID variant discovered in the UK is now confirmed in Colorado

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DENVER (KLKN) – Colorado state health officials say the variant strain of COVID-19 that has been making headlines in the UK is now in Colorado. Its official name is COVID 19 variant B.1.1.7.

The person with the variant is a male in his 20s and has no travel history. He’s in isolation in Elbert County and will remain there until further notice. The CDC has been notified of this case.

The individual has no close contacts identified so far, but public health officials are working through contact tracing interviews.

“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.

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.

“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 are expected to give more information at a Wednesday news conference.

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