Colorado confirms 2 more cases of new COVID-19 strain, 1 probable case

Two more people in Colorado have confirmed cases of the new, more contagious variant of coronavirus, including a staff member at a skilled nursing facility in Aurora.

Colorado public health officials first confirmed the presence of the new variant — known as B.1.1.7 — last week. The new cases brings the state’s total to three.

The new variant is believed to be more contagious than previous strains of the novel coronavirus but does not lead to more severe symptoms. It is believed COVID-19 vaccines will protect against the variant.

The first case of the new strain, which initially appeared in the United Kingdom, appeared in a Colorado National Guard member. A second member had a probable case, which has now been confirmed, according to the state Department of Public Health and Environment.

The third case was identified from test samples from staffer of the Veterans Community Living Center at Fitzsimons, which is operated by the Colorado Department of Human Services. State officials also are investigating a potential fourth case of the new strain in another staffer, according to the release.

“Epidemiologists are closely monitoring the situation and are conducting an investigation on any further potential exposure,” according to the news release.

Public health experts are concerned that if the new variant becomes the dominant strain in the state, it could lead to another surge in cases. So far the strain also has been found in California, New York and Florida.

Coloradans are encouraged to keep washing their hands, wearing masks and social distancing, according to the news release.

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