County Health Director Dwayne Smith told CNN that both the confirmed case and the suspected case involved men who were working for the Good Samaritan Society that helps live in Simla, about 45 miles northeast of Colorado Springs.
Smith said there are no residents of Elbert County, and they are quarantined outside of the county. He said that “there is no indication at this stage” that this event has crossed the boundaries of the facility and within the larger community.
Colorado Gov. Jared Police said Tuesday that the first patient has no known travel history. In part because of that, there is a good chance that the variable will spread within society, William Hasseltine, president and chair of ACCESS Health International, told CNN on Wednesday.
The state health department has been in contact with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about both cases. Smith said he didn’t know when a variable could be validated or definitively excluded in the second person. He was unable to comment on the men’s travel records and said the state’s health department notified the county about the two men on Tuesday afternoon.
Smith said that “the two people were working at the facility in non-medical roles” and “were working at the facility due to lack of staff due to the facility’s previous Covid-19 outbreak, so they were not permanent employees.” “The state Department of Health has deployed a rapid response team to the subsidized living facility in Shimla to test residents and staff.”
CNN has sought comment from the Good Samaritan Society.
Smith said the Good Samaritan Society has had an outbreak of Covid-19 over the past two and a half weeks, and at least two people have died – a 93-year-old man and an 88-year-old woman. He said that a third death was being investigated. The facility is home to around 25 residents.
Health authorities from around the world have said that the British variant, although it is believed to spread more easily, does not appear to be more deadly than the previously identified Covid-19 strains. Several countries banned flights from the UK, and the CDC recently announced that passengers from London to the US will need to test negative for coronavirus from the previous 72 hours.
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