A case of the new coronavirus variant initially seen in the United Kingdom has been found in Colorado, state officials say, marking the first time the variant has been officially documented in the United States.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said that the man who tested positive is in his 20s, has not been traveling and is currently isolating.
“The individual has no close contacts identified so far, but public health officials are working to identify other potential cases and contacts through thorough contact tracing interviews,” the statement said.
Today we discovered Colorado’s first case of the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7, the same variant discovered in the UK.
The health and safety of Coloradans is our top priority and we will monitor this case, as well as all COVID-19 indicators, very closely. pic.twitter.com/fjyq7QhzBi
— Governor Jared Polis (@GovofCO) December 29, 2020
The variant, to which scientists in the U.K. alerted the public in mid-December, is expected to spread faster than the original disease and has 17 mutations, NPR’s Michaeleen Doucleff reports.
Coronavirus cases have notably increased in England over the past few weeks.
Just days ago the first case of this virus variant was also found in France.
In response to the news from the U.K., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced last week that anyone coming to the U.S. from the U.K. must receive a negative coronavirus test result before they begin the trip.