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Coronavirus

Second and third cases of more-contagious coronavirus variant confirmed in Colorado

The third case is in a staff member at the Veterans Community Living Center at Fitzsimons, a state-run nursing home in Aurora

Army Veteran Phil Ross, 73, right, receives a COVID-19 vaccine from registered nurse Ola Arije, left, at Veterans Community Living Center at Fitzsimons in Aurora on Tuesday, December 22, 2020. Ross is the first senior-care center resident in Colorado to receive the vaccine. (Pool photo by Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post)
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Two more cases of a coronavirus variant that is thought to be more contagious have been confirmed in Colorado, state health officials announced Thursday night.

That means three people total have been confirmed to have the variant in Colorado.

The first two cases were in Colorado National Guard members who were deployed to the Good Samaritan Society nursing home in Simla.

The third case is in a staff member at the Veterans Community Living Center at Fitzsimons, a state-run nursing home in Aurora. There is another staff member at the facility who has contracted coronavirus and is being investigated for having the variant, known at B.1.1.7, as well.

It can take as many as six days after someone is tested for COVID-19 to determine whether they have the variant.

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The variant was first identified in the U.K. and has since been found across the globe. It caused cases to spike in England, prompting new restrictions. The variant is said to be as much as 70% more contagious than the regular version of COVID-19.

The first Colorado National Guard member who tested positive for the variant last month was the first confirmed case of the variant in the U.S. Since then dozens of cases have been identified in several other states.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment says it is conducting an investigation into any further exposures at the Veterans Community Living Center at Fitzsimons and beyond.

“Epidemiologists are closely monitoring the situation,” CDPHE said in a news release.

The Veterans Community Living Center at Fitzsimons has been hard hit by COVID-19 since the pandemic reached Colorado. Outbreaks there have sickened dozens of residents and staff. At least 30 residents at the facility have died after contracting the disease.

B.1.1.7 is not thought to cause more severe symptoms, and coronavirus vaccines that have been developed are thought to be effective against it.

Updated at 4:21 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021: This story has been updated to correct information from a source. Two cases of the coronavirus variant B.1.1.7 was linked to Colorado National Guard members, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

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