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El Paso County resident tests positive for COVID-19; 16 cases statewide and governor declares state of emergency


Last updated 3/11/2020 at 1:41pm

El Paso County Public Health (EPCPH) reported that the State Laboratory has confirmed the first presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in El Paso County on March 7. Because the testing was done at the state level, the case is a “presumptive positive” and results will be sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmation. EPCPH held a press conference Friday to provide more information on the case which as of March 10, was one of 16 cases in the state qith 14 more tests pending results.

The individual is a male in his 40s, with a recent travel history to California. He is currently isolated at home and in stable condition.EPCPH is working closely with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to identify close contacts and continue this active investigation.

“We hope he is able to make a full and quick recovery,” said Susan Wheelan, EPCPH Director. “Protecting the health of our community is our top priority, and we are doing everything possible to make sure the public is safe.”

EPCPH continues to work closely with local, state and federal partners to assure a streamlined response and help prevent further spread of disease in our community.

“Now, more than ever, we want to remind people to focus on the steps they can take to help prevent the spread of disease,” said Dr. Robin Johnson, EPCPH Medical Director. “The best thing you can do is remain calm, practice good hygiene, and stay home if you are sick.”

On March 10, Governor Jared Polis declared a state of emergency for Colorado. “The quicker we can contain the spread of coronavirus in Colorado, the better we’ll be able to protect our most vulnerable populations,” he said at a press conference.

Emergency measures include drive up labs, paid leave, allowing those over 65 to renew their drivers’ license from home, and directed the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment to create emergency rules that would ensure paid sick leave for workers in food handling, hospitality, child care, health care and education for people who are awaiting testing.

He also requested private employers also provide paid leave for coronavirus.

EPCPH reminds the public to:

Wash your hands frequently or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer;

Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your inner elbow shirt sleeve; Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms

Stay home if you’re sick; and

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. People who have general questions about coronavirus disease 2019 can call CO HELP at 303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911 for answers in many languages. Email [email protected] for answers in English.


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