Health officials in Colorado confirmed the first U.S. patient to have a more contagious strain of the coronavirus that was discovered to be circulating earlier this month in Britain. Illustration courtesy of CDC
Dec. 29 (UPI) -- Colorado health officials on Tuesday confirmed the first case of a new and potentially more infectious strain of COVID-19 in the United States.
The new strain, which appears to spread faster than other forms of the virus, first was identified earlier this month in Britain and South Africa.
Early research on the strain indicates it's at least partly to blame for a recent spike in cases in both countries.
"Today, we discovered Colorado's first case of the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7, the same variant discovered in [Britain]," Colorado Gov. Jared Polis tweeted.
"The health and safety of Coloradans is our top priority and we will monitor this case, as well as all COVID-19 indicators, very closely."
The infected individual is in isolation in Elbert County, south of Denver, according to Polis.
Health officials said the man, who is in his 20s, has no history of travel to Britain or South Africa.
The new strain has also been spotted in France, Spain and Sweden, according to officials in those countries.
Colorado health officials said they have notified the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which said earlier this month that the strain already could be circulating across the country due to travel.