Colorado officials have reported the country's first known case of B.1.1.7—a COVID-19 variant that is believed to be more infectious than the original strain.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis confirmed the case via Twitter on Tuesday, stating the individual was in isolation in Elbert County, as officials attempt to identify other potential cases through contact tracing. The man reportedly has no travel history.
"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," Polis wrote. "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."
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
Colorado health officials say they believe the newly released Pfizer vaccine is believed to be effective against the new variant; however, the US Centers for Disease Prevention and Control is urging the public to take precaution when traveling to the UK. The CDC recently issued an order requiring negative COVID-19 tests from all travelers from the UK into the US.
Per the order:
1. Verify that each passenger has attested to having received a negative Qualifying Test result. Airlines must retain a copy of each passenger attestation for two years.
2. Confirm that each passenger aged 2 years or older has documentation of a negative Qualifying Test result.
3. Not board any passenger without verifying the attestation and confirming the documentation as set forth in Items 1 and 2 above
As of Tuesday, the COVID-19 variant had been detected in 18 countries. Although B.1.1.7 is said to be more transmissible than the previously identified strains, UK researchers found the variant doesn't appear to cause more severe illnesses, nor does it seem more deadly.
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