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Colorado investigating possible second case of coronavirus variant in National Guard members

Colorado investigating possible second case of coronavirus variant in National Guard members
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Colorado is investigating a possible second case of a more contagious variant of coronavirus in the state, officials said Wednesday.

Both the confirmed and possible cases are National Guard members, officials said. 

The two had been sent to work at a Good Samaritan Society nursing home in Simla, Colo., experiencing an outbreak, but health officials said it is not clear whether the members acquired the virus while working at the facility. 

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The state is conducting contact tracing, and both guard members are currently isolating.  

The further details come after Colorado announced on Tuesday that it had detected the first known U.S. case of the new variant of coronavirus, which was first discovered in the United Kingdom.  

The new variant is thought to be more contagious but has not been shown to be more deadly or to evade the effectiveness of vaccines.  

Rachel Herlihy, the Colorado state epidemiologist, said so far there is no evidence the new variant is circulating in the nursing home, but officials are still investigating.  

Neither of the two National Guard members has traveled internationally recently, indicating that the new variant is circulating to some degree in the U.S. 

Asked if he will impose further restrictions to try to slow the spread of the new variant, Gov. Jared PolisJared Schutz PolisColorado Gov. Jared Polis engaged to longtime partner Marlon Reis Grocery store worker slapped after asking customer to wear mask, video shows Lobbying world MORE (D) said the state is continuing to monitor case levels. 

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"We will react to case numbers and it's really the same precautions that Coloradans need to take," he said. 

"People should just be more diligent about taking those precautions," he added, pointing to avoiding gatherings with other households, keeping distance from others, wearing a mask and washing hands.  

The state laboratory said it can take three to five days of analysis to identify whether a case constitutes the new variant, and they hope to have confirmation on the second possible case within a week.