Governor Jared Polis and officials announced that Denver and a number of other Colorado counties on Tuesday, November 17, at the Boettcher Mansion in Denver, Colorado, will be displaying "u2019" on a newly redesigned version of the COVID-19 color-coded dial Red stage will be moved in 2020.
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WASHINGTON – Colorado health officials said Wednesday they are investigating a potential second case of a new and potentially more infectious strain of Covid-19.
"We still don't know much about this variant," said Colorado Governor Jared Polis on Wednesday, advising Coloradans to keep to CDC guidelines in the new year.
On Tuesday, Colorado health officials confirmed the first case of the B.1.1.7 variant of the coronavirus.
The infected person, a man in his twenties, has no travel history and is in isolation with mild symptoms, officials said Tuesday.
The confirmed case and the second patient are both members of the Colorado National Guard. Both people helped set up the Good Samaritan Society for assisted living in Simla, about an hour and a half south of Denver.
Officials said Wednesday that a total of six Colorado National Guard members worked at the facility.
"Both cases involve Colorado National Guard personnel deployed to support staff at the Good Samaritan Society nursing home in Simla," said the state's chief epidemiologist, Dr. Rachel Herlihy of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
She added that the people were tested in the state laboratory on Dec. 24, a routine measure for members of the National Guard who work in close proximity to Covid-19 patients or outbreak-prone areas.
"We are currently investigating two ways these people might have got their infections," Herlihy said.
"With the discovery of the variant in Colorado, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have made it possible for us to temporarily suspend visits to nursing homes so that the population can be vaccinated quickly," said Polis.
"Not only are older Coloradans feeling more of health risk, but social isolation is a difficult and emotional problem that so many nursing home residents face," he said, adding that the move will protect the state's elderly community.
Dr. Emily Travanty, director of laboratory services for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said officials are currently analyzing 24 suspicious samples that could contain mutations. She explained that there was not enough data to link the additional 24 samples to variant B.1.1.7.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Dr. Henry Walke from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the new variant appears to spread "more easily and faster than other strains". Walke also said it doesn't seem to lead to worse infections or an increased risk of death.
Walke said the person in Colorado infected with the new strain of the virus had no travel history, "suggesting that this variant was transmitted person-to-person in the United States."
He added that given the spread of the variant in the UK, it was "expected" to arrive in the US.
Preliminary analysis of the new variant, first identified in the UK, suggests that, in some cases, it could be the culprit for the UK's recent surge.
The CDC said in December that the new strain could already be in circulation in the US without notice. The CDC cited the current trips between Great Britain and the USA as an explanation for the possible arrival of the new variant.
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The discovery of the pollution in the UK sparked border closings in European countries such as Ireland, France, Belgium and Germany, as well as in countries outside the continent.
Last week, the UK government confirmed that another infectious variant of the coronavirus identified in South Africa had also appeared in the UK. The tribe from South Africa has not yet been identified in the USA.