New Strain of COVID-19 Discovered in Elbert County

The first known U.S. cases of the highly contagious new strain of the coronavirus that’s spreading through the United Kingdom has been discovered in a rural Colorado county.

The coronavirus variant likely has circulated in the state and nation for some time.   

Colorado’s state lab confirmed the presence of the new strain in Elbert County after a man in his 20’s tested positive for what’s begin called the B.1.1.7 variant.  The patient, who has no history of traveling, will remain in isolation until he’s medically cleared.   

The new variant is believed to be as much as 70 percent more contagious than previous strains of the coronavirus, but it does not lead to more severe symptoms than earlier versions of the virus.  It is also believed the Covid-19 vaccines the state began distributing this month will protect against the new variant.   

Terry West