Second case of new Covid-19 variant believed to be found in Colorado

Simla, Colorado - A second case of the new highly contagious Covid-19 variant first discovered in the United Kingdom is now believed to have been found in Colorado, officials said.

The B.1.1.7 Covid variant first discovered in the UK is understood to be more contagious than the original strain.
The B.1.1.7 Covid variant first discovered in the UK is understood to be more contagious than the original strain.  © 123RF/Masaaki Abe

The suspected second case was reported by health authorities in Elbert County, where the first case of the new strain was confirmed Tuesday, according to CNN.

The county’s health director, Dwayne Smith, told CNN on Wednesday that both the man in the initial case and the man in the second suspected case worked in Simla at the Good Samaritan Society assisted living center.

They "were working at the facility due to staffing shortages from a prior Covid-19 outbreak at the facility, so they were not regular staff," Smith told the news outlet. "The state health department has deployed a rapid response team to the assisted living facility in Simla to test residents and staff."

The new variant is suspected by officials to be more contagious than the original strain of Covid-19.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis confirmed the first case of the variant B.1.1.7 in a tweet Tuesday, saying the man infected by the strain is in his 20s and doesn’t have any history of travel.

"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 said in the Twitter announcement. "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."

Simla is about about 80 miles south-east of Denver.

Smith said neither man is from Elbert County and that both are isolating elsewhere.

Cover photo: 123RF/Masaaki Abe

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