Colorado public health officials confirmed the first U.S. case of the new highly contagious strain of the coronavirus discovered in Britain a couple of weeks ago.
A state lab informed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about a man in his 20s from Elbert County possessing the new strain. He has no travel history and is isolating himself until cleared by public health officials, Governor Jared Polis said in a statement.
“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,” Polis said.
“We are working to prevent spread and contain the virus at all levels.”
Polis said the man has no close contacts identified so far, but public health officials are working to find others who were potentially exposed through contact tracing interviews.
He added that his office would monitor the new case “very closely.”
The discovery of the new strain, called B.1.1.7, in Britain, alarmed officials and led to tier-4 lockdown measures and global travel restrictions in the country amid the holiday season.
Researchers have identified the new strain in more than a dozen countries, including Japan, Canada, and several European nations.
“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.