By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — On Tuesday, health officials confirmed there is a new and more contagious variant of COVID-19 in Colorado, but the director of the Los Angeles County Public Health Department says it is possible it is already here as well.

Colorado’s confirmation of the new strain, which was first discovered in the United Kingdom, is the first detection of the variant in the United States. Colorado officials said the patient was a man in his 20s who had no recent history of travel. He has been in quarantine, officials added.

The new strain, known as B.1.1.7, has not officially been found in L.A. yet, but Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Monday said that does not mean it is not already here.

“We have not found any evidence of the variant in that first group of tests that we ran,” said Ferrer. “It just means it didn’t show up in the first round of testing.”

But Ferrer said even if the variant is in the county, it would not change the infection-control measures that are already in place.

“I think whether the variant is here or it isn’t here, the steps we need to take are exactly the same,” she said. “Whether the variant is slightly more infectious than the virus as we’re experiencing it now in the predominant strain we’re seeing here in L.A. County, the steps to take are the same. And the urgency is the same.”

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)