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New coronavirus variant: Colorado National Guard member has 1st reported US case


WASHINGTON — A #Colorado #National #Guard member has the first reported U.S. case of a new and seemingly more contagious variant of the coronavirus that has set off alarm in #Britain, while a second case is suspected in another #Guard member, health officials said #Wednesday.

The two were sent on #Dec. 23 to work at a nursing home struggling with an outbreak of the virus in a small town outside #Denver, said #Dr. #Rachel #Herlihy, the state’s epidemiologist.

A state laboratory detected the cases after it began looking for signs of the variant after its spread was announced in #England earlier this month, she said. #Staff and residents at the nursing home who have tested positive for the coronavirus are having their samples screened for signs of the variant, and so far no evidence of it has been found, #Herlihy said.

The confirmed case is in a #Colorado man in his 20s who hadn’t been traveling and has mild symptoms, officials said. #He’s isolating at his home near #Denver, and the person with the suspected case is isolating in a hotel on #Colorado’s #Eastern #Plains, #Herlihy said.

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RELATED: US taking hard look at variant of coronavirus that set off alarms in UK, #Fauci says

The cases have triggered a host of questions about how the variant arrived in the U.S. and added urgency to the nation’s vaccination drive.

The new, mutated version was first identified in #Britain, where infections are soaring and the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has surpassed the first peak seen last spring. The variant has also been found in several other countries.

“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,” #Colorado #Gov. #Jared #Polis said. “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.”

The discovery of the mutated version overseas led the U.S. #Centers for #Disease #Control and #Prevention to issue rules on #Christmas #Day requiring travelers arriving from #Britain to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
SEE ALSO: #Will COVID-19 vaccines work on the new variant?

The variant is probably still rare in the U.S., but the lack of travel history in the first case means it is spreading, perhaps seeded by visitors from #Britain in #November or #December, said scientist #Trevor #Bedford, who studies the spread of COVID-19 at the #Fred #Hutchinson #Cancer #Research #Center in #Seattle.

“#Now I’m worried there will be another spring wave due to the variant,” #Bedford said. “#It’s a race with the vaccine, but now the virus has just gotten a little bit faster.”

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#Public health officials are investigating other potential cases of the variant, which was confirmed by the #Colorado #State #Laboratory, and conducting contact tracing to determine its spread.

RELATED: US hits record for COVID-19 deaths — again

#Scientists in #Britain have found no evidence that it is more lethal or causes more severe illness, and they believe the vaccines now being dispensed will be effective against it.

#British #Prime #Minister #Boris #Johnson reported the weekend before #Christmas that the variant was moving rapidly through #London and southeast #England. The region was placed under strict lockdown measures, and dozens of countries banned flights from #Britain. #France also briefly barred trucks from #Britain before allowing them back in, provided the drivers got tested for the virus.

#Japan announced a ban #Monday on all nonresident foreigners as a precaution.

#New versions of the virus have been seen almost since it was first detected in #China a year ago. #It is common for viruses to undergo minor changes as they reproduce and move through a population. The fear is that mutations will become significant enough to defeat the vaccines.

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#South #Africa has also discovered a highly contagious COVID-19 variant that is driving the country’s latest spike of cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

AP #Medical #Writer #Carla K. #Johnson in #Washington state contributed.

#Copyright © 2020 by The #Associated #Press. #All #Rights #Reserved.





[ source link ]
https://6abc.com/new-coronavirus-variant-colorado-man-covid-mutation-cases-update/9196520/

#coronavirus #variant ##Colorado ##National ##Guard #member #1st #reported #case

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