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Fifth case of mutant COVID-19 variant confirmed in Colorado


DENVER, Colo. (KRDO) -- According to the Colorado Department of Public Health Environment, the organization has confirmed five cases of the B 1.1.7 variant and will add variant case totals in the case summary snapshot on the COVID-19 data dashboard.

Starting Thursday, CDPHE will update the information every day at about 4 p.m., providing additional data transparency and allowing Coloradans to more closely track disease transmission in the state.

“Our state lab was the first in the country to identify a B 1.1.7 variant case through sophisticated analysis of testing samples,” Scott Bookman, incident commander, COVID-19 response, said. “Scientists believe this variant is far more contagious, so I’m pleased we are adding this information to our website to help keep Coloradans informed of disease transmission trends in our state.” 

The state lab is now routinely screening all samples submitted to the state lab for COVID-19 diagnostic testing for the S drop out profile associated with the B 1.1.7  variant and using a well-established genome sequencing program to characterize mutations using a number of advanced molecular detection techniques.

CDPHE is doing about 5-10% of the statewide testing analysis and has also asked other labs in the state to submit batches of positive tests so they, too, can be screened. So far, the state lab has confirmed five cases of the B 1.1.7 variant. 

The most recent case involves an individual from Boulder County in their 20s. A private lab discovered the variant, and the state lab confirmed it. 

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 authorized 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. Quarantine guidance for those exposed to the variant is more strict.

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Kerjan Bianca

Kerjan is the weekend morning anchor and reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Kerjan here


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