Colorado Is Running More Of Its Own Tests For Coronavirus, And Plenty Of Results Are Still Pending

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Gov. Jared Polis and state officials speak to reporters Tuesday, March 3 at the governor’s office about state preparedness regarding the novel coronavirus.

UPDATE: Thursday, 3/5 4:35 p.m.

Colorado health officials announced the state had its first positive case of the new coronavirus on Thursday, March 5. The patient was an out-of-state visitor to Summit County, a male in his 30s. He had contact with someone who had the disease outside of Colorado. The state tested him for the virus and received a positive result.

Our original reporting continues below.

When it comes to the novel coronavirus, Colorado still has some unknowns. But there's one thing at least that's true: The state, as of Wednesday afternoon, has reported no confirmed cases of the disease COVID-19.

At this point, Colorado's Department of Public Health and Environment has reported that 58 tests have been done, most of them in the state now that kits are available here. Twenty-one tests are still pending. The rest came back negative.

Officials expect to have results within 24 hours and plan to update its online numbers on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, they've said. The risk to most people in Colorado is low, according to the CDPHE.

Officials have warned that it's possible mild cases of the virus already exist in Colorado, and they have encouraged people to stay home if needed.

In the meantime, state public health and emergency officials have said they're preparing for transmission. Colorado elevated its emergency readiness on Tuesday to its second-highest level, and the governor's office and state health officials met Wednesday to draft the disaster declaration that would grant Gov. Jared Polis broad powers to help respond to or prevent a pandemic.

Dr. Michelle Barron, who specializes in infectious disease at UC Health, told Colorado Matters that it's important for hospitals to have proper ventilation.

"A lot of our hospitals were built with the idea of having to contain infectious disease, whether it's COVID-19 or MRSA, which is Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus, or some of the other bad bugs that we see," she said.

Recent travel to places with coronavirus outbreaks is still the primary factor in determining who to test in Colorado, Barron said.

The virus continues to spread throughout the United States. Officials to date have reported at least 11 deaths, most in Washington state, and more than 100 cases.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath. They usually appear between two to 14 days after exposure to the virus.

CPR's John Daley contributed to this reporting.