Wednesday, January 20, 2021
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Colorado investigating second possible case of highly contagious coronavirus variant


The state’s first confirmed case of the new, more contagious variant of the coronavirus and a suspected second infection were discovered in a pair of #Colorado #National #Guard members sent to #Elbert #County to assist with a nursing home outbreak, officials said #Wednesday.

#Colorado on #Tuesday became the first state to confirm the new variant — known as B.1.1.7 — in the #United #States. #By #Wednesday, #California’s governor announced that his state also had verified its first case involving the fast-moving strain discovered in the #United #Kingdom.

The two #National #Guard members, who have not been publicly identified, were sent to help with staffing at the #Good #Samaritan #Society nursing home in #Simla after an outbreak of COVID-19 at the facility earlier this month, said #Dr. #Rachel #Herlihy, the state epidemiologist, during a news briefing #Wednesday.

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The discovery of the new variant in #California wasn’t surprising as federal and state public health authorities have said they expect more cases to appear in the U.S. over the coming days. #It’s unknown how the variant, which has spread quickly through the U.K., arrived in the U.S. nor how widespread it is.

“We don’t yet have a good idea of how prevalent it is” in #Colorado, said #Gov. #Jared #Polis during the news briefing.

The first case appeared in a man in his 20s who is isolating at home in #Arapahoe #County. The person with the suspected case is isolating in a hotel in #Lincoln #County.

The new variant is believed to be more contagious than previous strains of the coronavirus, but it does not lead to more severe symptoms. The COVID-19 vaccines by #Moderna and #Pfizer are also believed to protect against the strain.

#Public health and medical experts said that because the variant was found in a rural county, it is likely it has been in #Colorado for some time, just undetected.

#As the new variant is considered more contagious, there is a concern about it increasing transmission of the disease COVID-19 in the state. #People are encouraged to keep washing their hands, wearing masks and only interact with members of their household, according to a news release from the governor’s office.

“The worry of course is that if it’s spreading faster and more people have it, even with just the regular rates of hospitalizations, this could be overwhelming for our health care systems,” said #Dr. #Eric #France, chief medical officer for the state #Department of #Public #Health and #Environment, during the briefing.

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#Because of the concern that the new variant could reach nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in the state, #Colorado has asked federal regulators to allow officials to stop visitation at such facilities so that residents can get vaccinated more quickly, #Polis said.

The state is investigating whether the two individuals became infected at the #Simla assisted-living facility or through their daily lives, #Herlihy said.

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[ source link ]
https://www.denverpost.com/2020/12/30/colorado-new-strain-coronavirus-national-guard/

##Colorado #investigating #case #highly #contagious #coronavirus #variant

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