El Paso County Announces First Presumptive Coronavirus Case

March 6, 2020

El Paso County Health officials say a man in his 40s with a recent travel history to California is the first presumptive case of coronavirus in the county.

The announcement comes one day after Governor Jared Polis reported the first two cases in the state. There are now eight as of Friday afternoon.

The State Laboratory confirmed the case in El Paso County and results will go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmation.

Officials said the man self-isolated at the onset of his symptoms and then sought medical care. The county is working to identify close contacts he may have had, and will contact anyone of concern. Johnson said the man’s family and other known contacts have been placed in quarantine.

Dr. Robin Johnson, Medical Director for El Paso County Public Health, encouraged residents to stay calm, but also asked people to be prepared.

“Know what you would do in the event that you need to stay home. And it would probably be for up to two weeks. So make sure you have food, medicine and the logistics of daily life covered.”

El Paso County Commissioner Mark Waller urged residents to practice good hygiene - hand washing, frequently wiping down surfaces, covering coughs and sneezes - and recommended people go about their daily lives.

“Remember, you are your best defense against this virus,” he said.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment says COVID-19 is primarily spread through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. People who have sustained contact within six feet of an infected individual are most at risk of transmission.

People who have general questions about coronavirus, 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. Coloradans can also visit the CDC and CDPHE websites for more information on best practices.