A second guard member who was deployed to the nursing home has tested positive for COVID-19 is being investigated as potentially having the variant, too, state health officials say.
Governor Jared Polis said in a tweet: 'Today we discovered Colorado's first case of the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7, the same variant discovered in the UK.
The first case of this new coronavirus strain in the USA turned up in a remote part of Colorado, in the town of Simla, population 600, at this nursing home.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said that the man who tested positive is in his 20s, has not been traveling and is now isolating.
As of Monday, the US requires all travelers from Britain to test negative for COVID-19 within three days of their flight. It is not yet clear where the new variant arose, nor why it transmits more easily. That individual is in isolation in Elbert County, located southeast of Denver.
In a statement he said the Colorado State Laboratory confirmed the case and notified the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
There was a virus outbreak in the facility in mid-December and the soldiers were deployed on December 23 and got tested as routine procedure the following day.
"We have an extensive investigation underway to identify all contacts the cases may have had in the two weeks leading up to their deployment", she said. COVID-19 is considered to be 10 times more contagious than the flu.
The new COVID-19 variant known as B.1.1.7 is said to be more contagious but not more severe than other strains of the virus.
"If you're ill, instead of only making two or three other people sick, you might actually spread it to four or five people,"Dr. Eric France from Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment emphasized, "Of course with more cases come more hospitalizations, more ICU beds being filled and the potential of overwhelming over health care system".
Models show that it has increased transmission of 70% compared to other variants.