According to the Chaffee County Dept. of Public Health as reported late this afternoon, March 5 by the Colorado Dept. of Health, Colorado has its first case of COVID-19. The case is in an out-of-state visitor to Summit County, a male in his 30s. The case had known exposure to the virus through close contact with a person with COVID-19 outside of Colorado.
The identity of the man is not known. What is known is that he took a trip to Italy in the past month, flew into DIA and rented a car to drive to Summit County. He stayed at a condo there, and skied at Vail and Keystone (which days are not yet known) before becoming ill March 3.
At that point he went to St. Anthony Summit Medical Center in Frisco and he was tested for COVID-19 on March 4. Because testing was conducted at the state level, the case is a “presumptive positive,” and will be sent to the CDC for official confirmation.
The state says it will act on all “presumptive positive” case as if results were confirmed, because a quick response is essential to minimize the spread of the virus. The results are being sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for formal confirmation, but the state is proceeding at this point as if the case is officially confirmed.
The man was flown down to the metro Denver area due to altitude health issues and is in quarantine in Jefferson County and will remain isolated until cleared by public health officials. His fiance is in self-quarantine in metro Denver too.
At this point, public health practitioners are investigating and say they will attempt to identify and notify anyone else who may have been exposed because of this case. Those people may be in Summit County or elsewhere, as the person traveled to the county from out of state.
“We are hopeful that the patient will have a swift recovery,” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “Like other states, we expected to begin seeing cases in Colorado and that is why we have been preparing for the past couple of months, in conjunction with local public health agencies and healthcare partners. Our goals are to protect the public from the disease, get people the care they need, and minimize disruption to daily lives.”
The Colorado Dept. of Health says it will continues to work closely with CDC and public health agencies across the state and is committed to protecting the health and safety of Coloradans.
A second presumptive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in an elderly Douglas County woman, who returned from international travel and fell ill. She is currently in isolation at her home. At least three other people are in quarantine.
Public health officials have repeated the public health preventative actions covered earlier, including:
- Practice good hygiene. Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water. In the absence of soap and water, use hand-sanitizer; use your elbow or sleeve to cover coughs and sneezes
- Stay home if you’re sick; keep your children home if they are sick. The illness can last for many days so make preparations now to work from home if possible.
- We advise Coloradans to always be prepared for an emergency– just as we do for a large snowstorm– and have a plan for your family. Make sure to have 72 hours of key supplies on hand like medications, infant formula, diapers, pet food, etc. FEMA guidance for pre-pandemic COVID-19 preparedness is available on Ready.gov.
- Stay informed with reliable, up-to-date information. People who have general questions about coronavirus disease 2019, can call CO HELP at 303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911 or email COHELP@RMPDC.org, for answers in English and Spanish (Español), Mandarin (普通话), and more.
The state of Colorado will provide timely updates on any additional cases that test positive at the state lab.