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Colorado man first in U.S. diagnosed with mutant COVID-19 strain warned of by U.K. officials; second case suspected | Colorado Springs News


A #Colorado man is the first in the U.S. diagnosed with a new COVID-19 mutation that #United #Kingdom officials recently warned was significantly more contagious, according to state officials.

The man, who lives in #Elbert #County, is in his 20s, with no travel history and no close contacts yet identified, state officials said in a #Tuesday news release, adding that a news conference #Wednesday morning would provide more details. The man remains in isolation, and contact tracing continues.

A second case in the county is suspected, and both individuals were working in #Simla, about an hour northeast of #Colorado #Springs. #Neither are residents of #Elbert #County, #Dwayne #Smith, director of public health for #Elbert #County, told #Gazette sister publication #Colorado #Politics on #Tuesday.

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“I’m not surprised,” #Dr. #Anthony #Fauci, director of the #National #Institute of #Allergy and #Infectious #Diseases, told The #Washington #Post #Tuesday in response to the virus’ arrival in the U.S. “I think we have to keep an eye on it, and we have to take it seriously. #We obviously take any kind of mutation that might have a functional significance seriously. #But I don’t think we know enough about it to make any definitive statements, except to follow it carefully and study it carefully.”

RELATED:

#Coronavirus deaths among #Colorado prisoners more than double in #December

#El #Paso #County’s #Health #Department did not immediately respond #Tuesday when asked if the county had seen suspected cases.

The fact that the man had no known travel history or close contacts, according to the state, “suggests there is more than one case in #Colorado,” #Dr. #Elizabeth #Carlton, assistant professor at the #Colorado #School of #Public #Health and member of the state’s COVID-19 modeling team, said #Tuesday.

#That variant known as B.1.1.7 is the same one discovered in #Europe this month. #It triggered alarm when announced by #Britain’s prime minister and caused dozens of countries to ban flights from the #United #Kingdom, as well as strict lockdown measures in southern #England. A similar variant emerged in #South #Africa and potentially #Nigeria. #It appears to be 70% more transmissible than the dominant strain of COVID-19, #Colorado officials said last week.

The #World #Health #Organization has said while the variant might spread more easily from person to person, it isn’t necessarily more dangerous or deadly. A recent briefing on the mutation from #England’s health department noted no statistically significant difference in hospitalization or fatality rates, nor in the likelihood of reinfection.

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#When looking at data on the mutation from the UK, “what’s remarkable is how quickly this new variant took over the region” of eastern #England, from being on the periphery to dominating COVID diagnoses within a month, #Carlton said.

The COVID-19 virus likely experiences significant mutations once or twice a month, #Dr. #Sam #Dominguez, infectious disease specialist at #Children’s #Hospital #Colorado, told The #Gazette last week. #Coronaviruses are prone to mutations, he said, adding that the introduction of a vaccine could cause the virus to mutate.

#In general #Colorado COVID-19 news:

– #New infections reported to the state continue generally downward, with 1,158 new cases announced #Tuesday — the lowest number since #Oct. 21, and down from a peak of 6,618 cases announced #Nov. 12.

– #As of #Tuesday the number of deaths directly caused by COVID was 3,803, while the number of deaths among patients who had COVID at their time of death, including those who died of other causes, was 4,687.

– The percent of individuals tested for COVID-19 whose results return positive was just over 6% #Monday, half of what it was in #November and early #December. The #World #Health #Organization recommended a rate of no more than 5% among communities wishing to reopen this spring.

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– #Nearly three-quarters of the state’s acute care and intensive care beds were in use as of #Tuesday, figures that have held relatively steady after a recent slight decline, according to data. #Nearly 40% of adult critical care ventilators were in use #Tuesday.



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https://gazette.com/news/colorado-man-first-in-u-s-diagnosed-with-mutant-covid-19-strain-second-case-suspected/article_5c58d2c0-4a1c-11eb-b3d6-fb55225b0c2f.html

##Colorado #man #diagnosed #mutant #COVID19 #strain #warned #officials #case #suspected ##Colorado ##Springs ##News

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