Along with the primary case of the brand new COVID-19 variant detected in Colorado on Tuesday, there’s now a second attainable case, Colorado well being officers mentioned Wednesday.
Each people are members of the Colorado Nationwide Guard who have been deployed to a nursing house that had a COVID-19 outbreak, although it isn’t identified whether or not they contracted the brand new variant on the facility or previous to their work there.
“There isn’t a proof that [new variant] is circulating there, however testing is ongoing,” Dr. Rachel Herlihy, Colorado state epidemiologist, mentioned throughout a Wednesday information convention.
Nationwide Guard members are frequently examined, and neither particular person traveled internationally within the weeks previous to getting sick, well being officers mentioned. The preliminary case, which was introduced Tuesday, was the primary detected U.S. occasion of the brand new COVID-19 variant, which is named B.1.1.7 and which was first recognized in the UK.
The preliminary affected person, a person in his 20s who’s experiencing gentle signs, is at present in isolating at house, well being officers mentioned. The individual with the second attainable case — which Dr. Emily Travanty, scientific director of the laboratory providers division on the Colorado Division of Public Well being and Surroundings (CDPHE), described as “extremely suspicious, however not but confirmed” — is isolating at a lodge.
“We’re nonetheless working to finish the evaluation on this pattern,” Travanty mentioned.
“Viruses continually change via mutation, and new variants of a virus are anticipated to happen over time,” in accordance with the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. The CDC mentioned it expects “there might be further circumstances which are prone to be detected within the coming days.”
“The truth that Colorado has detected this variant first within the nation is a testomony to the sophistication of Colorado’s response and the expertise of CDPHE’s scientist and lab operations,” Jill Hunsaker Ryan, government director of the CDPHE, mentioned in an announcement. “We’re at present utilizing all of the instruments out there to guard public well being and mitigate the unfold.”
“There’s a lot we don’t learn about this new COVID-19 variant, however scientists in the UK are warning the world that it’s considerably extra contagious,” Gov. Jared Polis mentioned Tuesday.
A preliminary evaluation from Public Well being England discovered that the brand new COVID-19 variant detected in the UK isn’t extra lethal than the prior dominant variant.
It’s nonetheless seemingly that the brand new variant, which accounts for greater than half of recent optimistic circumstances within the U.Okay., is extra transmissible, due to the pace at which it has outpaced the prior variant, the evaluation discovered.
“Should you’re sick, as a substitute of solely making two or three individuals sick, you may really unfold to 4 or 5 individuals,” Dr. Eric France, chief medical officer at CDPHE mentioned through the Wednesday information convention. A extra transmissible virus might trigger neighborhood circumstances, and subsequently hospitalizations, to rise rapidly, doubtlessly overwhelming the well being care system, France defined.
Regardless of their small genetic variations, the variants are all the identical virus, SARS-CoV-2, and transmitted via droplets, that means social distancing and masks ought to nonetheless work to sluggish illness transmission, in accordance with the Public Well being England report.
The governor careworn that these basic public well being measures are nonetheless very important.
“It is the exact same issues we have to do to sluggish the unfold,” Polis mentioned. “If, in reality, this variant seems to be extra transmissible, it doesn’t imply masks don’t work.”
Beginning this week, components of Colorado are shifting to section 1B of the state’s vaccine distribution plan, which is able to permit anybody age 70 and older to get vaccinated for COVID-19.
“Over 78% of COVID deaths in our state are individuals age 70 and older,” Polis mentioned. “Should you’re 70 and up, you actually, actually, actually ought to need it.”
ABC Information’ Carol McKinley, Ian Pannell, Sony Salzman, Emily Shapiro and Christine Theodorou contributed to this report.
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