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Health care workers for the Gunnison County Health and Human Services Department administer COVID-19 tests in below zero temperatures at a mobile testing site set up outside of Crested Butte, Colorado on December 17, 2020. (Dean Krakel, Special to The Colorado Sun)

Colorado health officials have now confirmed five cases of a coronavirus variant that’s thought to be far more contagious as they step up surveillance for the version of the disease that caused cases to soar in the United Kingdom.

The latest confirmed case is in a person in their 20s in Boulder County, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said in a news release Wednesday. Further details were not released.

The state says it will start sharing a daily count of confirmed cases of the variant, known as B.1.1.7. The variant is thought to be as much as 70% more transmissible than the regular strain of COVID-19.

The first cases of the variant were linked to two Colorado National Guard members working in a nursing home in Simla and two staff members working at a nursing home in Aurora.

CDPHE’s lab is now accepting a portion of coronavirus tests from across the state to better track the spread of the variant. The latest case, in the Boulder County person, was first confirmed by a private lab and then confirmed by the state.

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.

Rising Sun

Jesse Paul

The Colorado Sun — Desk: 720-432-2229 Jesse Paul is a political reporter and editor at The Colorado Sun, covering the state legislature, Congress and local politics. He is...