Colorado officials may have discovered a second case of UK coronavirus variant
ELBERT COUNTY, Colorado - As of Wednesday (Dec. 30) morning, Colorado health officials report that a second local case of the United Kingdom's coronavirus variant may have been discovered.
According to CNN, the news comes out of an assisted living facility in Simia, which is in Elberty County.
This is the same facility where the confirmed case of the coronavirus variant was discovered on Tuesday (Dec. 29).
Both patients, the one with the confirmed case and the one with the suspected case, are male and work at the facility.
CNN goes on to say neither are residents of Elbert County, and are currently isolating outside the county. Officials add that there is "no indication at this point" that this event has gone beyond the facility and into the larger community.
The "two individuals were working at the facility in non-clinical roles," and "were working at the facility due to staffing shortages from a prior COVID-19 outbreak at the facility, so they were not regular staff," an official told CNN. "The state health department has deployed a rapid response team to the assisted living facility in Simla to test residents and staff."
The first patient had no known travel history, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said Tuesday. In part because of that, there is a good chance the variant has been spreading within the community, William Haseltine, chair and president of the global health think tank ACCESS Health International, told CNN Wednesday.
The variant emerged in the UK in September, and US health officials have said it's likely the variant is already in the United States.
That said, health authorities from around the world agree that the UK variant, though believed to be more easily spread, does not appear to be more deadly than previously identified COVID-19 strains.
In addition to this, Melissa Nolan, an infectious disease expert and professor at the University of South Carolina, told USA Today that the coronavirus vaccine designers predicted the virus would mutate and “included various predictions of viral strains” in the vaccine.
So, despite the disturbing possibility of more novel coronavirus variant cases in the U.S., the fact that the illness is not more deadly than its more prolific counterpart and that the nation is now armed with vaccines that will successfully fight it, many find their worst fears allayed.
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