DENVER — Governor Jared Polis and officials with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) gathered remotely Wednesday, December 30 to discuss the first case of the COVID-19 variant in Colorado, as well as an update on the vaccine distribution plan.
The variant, or new version of COVID-19, was first detected in the United Kingdom. Colorado’s first confirmed case of the variant, known as B.1.1.7, is the first confirmed case in the United States.
The person who tested positive is a man in his 20s in Elbert County. He had no travel history, according to the governor’s office, which suggests that others in Colorado have also carried the B.1.1.7 version of COVID-19.
State epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy announced that the man is a Colorado National Guardsman, and that another member of the Colorado National Guard is currently considered a “possible” case.
Both individuals had been deployed to the Good Samaritan Society nursing home in Simla, Colorado, earlier this month to help with a COVID-19 outbreak at the facility. Polis said that 100% of the residents at the nursing home had tested positive for the coronavirus.
The soldiers arrived at the nursing home on December 23 and were tested the following day.
State officials are investigating if any residents tested positive for the B.1.1.7 variant, or if the Colorado National Guard members contracted the variant outside of the facility.
“I’m proud that we detected [B.1.1.7] here in Colorado as quickly as we did,” Polis said during the press conference. “It speaks to the incredible work of the exceptional scientists and staff in our state lab.”