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Through testing at the Mesa County Fairgrounds COVID-19 community sampling site, a case of the B.1.1.7 variant has been identified in a female Mesa County resident in her 30s with no travel history. The woman reported no symptoms (asymptomatic) and was not hospitalized.

The case was confirmed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment through laboratory testing on February 4. 

Mesa County Public Health completed a case investigation with this individual and advised her of isolation instructions and quarantine measures for her close contacts. Quarantine guidance for those exposed to the variant is more strict, to minimize transmission and other potential exposures.

Statewide, COVID-19 variant cases remain relatively low. The case added from Mesa County today is one of 23 new reported variant cases, bringing the total to 39. 

Colorado was the first state to have a confirmed case of the B.1.1.7 variant in the United States; that case was in a resident of Elbert County on December 29.

This strain, sometimes referred to as the UK variant, appears to spread more easily and quickly than more common strains that cause COVID-19. There is no evidence that these variants cause more severe illness or increased risk of hospitalization or death than previous circulating strains. 

Scientists believe that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be effective in providing immunity against these new variants.

Infections due to the new variants seem to have the same symptoms as the original COVID-19 strain. They can also cause asymptomatic infection, as was reported with this individual. Contacts of cases with any of the new COVID-19 variants need to quarantine for a full 14 days.

The most effective ways to prevent the spread of any COVID-19 virus remain the same: Wearing a mask in public, maintaining at least 6 feet of physical distance from others, limiting contact with anyone outside your household, washing your hands often, and staying home when you are sick.

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