Colorado Department of Public Health Environment has confirmed two additional cases of the B.1.1.7 variant in the state, as well as a possible case with the S drop out profile that is pending genome sequencing results. The state gave isolation orders to the two confirmed and one possible case, and quarantine orders to their close contacts.
The state confirmed its first case of the variant and announced a possible case on Dec. 29. On Jan. 6, the state lab changed the status of that initial possible case to confirmed. With today’s confirmed case, the total is three.
Public health officials discovered today’s third confirmed case and one possible case in staff members at the Veterans Community Living Center at Fitzsimons operated by the Colorado Department of Human Services. The facility is conducting routine testing; currently no additional possible cases with the B.1.1.7 have been identified. The facility will continue regular testing.
Epidemiologists are closely monitoring the situation and are conducting an investigation on any further potential exposure.
Scientists in the United Kingdom believe the B.1.1.7 variant to be more contagious than previously identified strains of the SARS-CoV-2 variant, though no more severe in symptoms. In addition, the currently approved vaccines are thought to be effective against this variant.
Coloradans can protect themselves from the B.1.1.7 variant in the same ways they can protect themselves from the prominent SARS-CoV-2 strain by following public health protocols– hand washing, mask wearing, physical distancing, and avoiding gatherings.
The Colorado state lab was the first in the country to quickly identify the first variant case through sophisticated analysis of testing samples. The state lab is now screening all samples they receive for the S drop out profile associated with the B 1.1.7 variant. CDPHE has also asked other labs in the state to submit batches of positive tests so they, too, can be screened. Continue to stay up to date by visiting covid19.colorado.gov.