The new mutated strain of COVID-19 that was recently discovered in the United Kingdom was found in a Colorado resident with no travel history, officials confirmed Tuesday.
“Today we discovered Colorado’s first case of the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7, the same variant discovered in the UK,” tweeted Democratic Colorado Gov. Jared Polis on Tuesday evening. “The health and safety of Coloradans is our top priority and we will monitor this case, as well as all COVID-19 indicators, very closely.”
Colorado State Laboratory notified the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) after confirming the case, according to the governor’s press release, which further explained that the individual is a male in his 20s with no travel history. He is in isolation in Elbert County and will remain so until public health officials clear him.
Today we discovered Colorado’s first case of the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7, the same variant discovered in the UK.
The health and safety of Coloradans is our top priority and we will monitor this case, as well as all COVID-19 indicators, very closely. pic.twitter.com/fjyq7QhzBi
— Governor Jared Polis (@GovofCO) December 29, 2020
“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,” Polis said. “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.”
The new mutation is potentially more contagious and has led to 40 countries restricting travel from the U.K., according to CNN. The weekend before Christmas, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson instituted an emergency lockdown on London and southeastern England.
“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, who is the executive director of the 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.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci said a week ago that the mutant variant was likely already in the U.S. but added that the two vaccines now being distributed across the country should still be effective.
The first Canadian cases of the new strain emerged last week. Like the man in Colorado, the Ontario couple who tested positive also had no known travel history. As The Daily Wire reported:
Health officials in Ontario, Canada, reported that two cases of the new strain of COVID-19 sweeping the United Kingdom have appeared in the province.
The cases were identified in a couple in southern Ontario who had no known travel history, according to Reuters. They also had no known exposure to the virus or other high-risk contact.
“This further reinforces the need for Ontarians to stay home as much as possible and continue to follow all public health advice, including the provincewide shutdown measures beginning today,” said Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Ontario’s associate chief medical officer.
Related: Japan Shuts Border To Foreign Nationals Amid New COVID-19 Strain