Coronavirus In Colorado: March 15 Updates

March 15, 2020
Virus Outbreak US TestingVirus Outbreak US Testing ANDEW HARNICK / CDC/AP
This undated file photo provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows CDC's laboratory test kit for the new coronavirus.

This post will continue to be updated throughout the day.

Update - 5:00 p.m.

In order to help reduce the spread of the new coronavirus, the state health department "strongly recommends" that anyone who lives in or visited Eagle, Summit, Pitkin, or Gunnison counties within the past week should minimize contact with other people, regardless of symptoms or a lack of symptoms. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is engouraging this action for two weeks, regardless of any symptom development.

Health officials say it is likely that community transmission is increasing across the state. Anyone experiening symptoms, they say, should call a health care provider before seeking care.

CDHPE continues to encourage people across the state to practice social distancing -- staying at least 6 feet from others -- and avoid gatherings, social or otherwise.

Updated -- 1:53 p.m.:

The state health department is confirming an additional 30 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 131. One of those additonal cases is in El Paso County, bringing the county's total to four.

Original post: 9:33 a.m.

Health officials in El Paso County say anyone who visited the Colorado Springs Bridge Center from late February through early March and is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should call their health provider immediately. 

Symptoms include fever, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing. The most vulnerable people are older with chronic medical conditions, though people older than 60 and those with chronic conditions are also more likely to get sick.

The statement was issued Saturday and comes after Colorado saw its first death Friday as a result of the new coronavirus, an El Paso County woman in her 80s who had underlying health conditions.

The woman attended games at the center between Feb. 27 and March 3.

"Many attendees were older people who might be especially vulnerable to severe illness from COVID-19," said Kimberly Pattison of El Paso County Public Health in a release.

Health officials say the notice is especially important for people who attended the following games:

  • 02/27/2020 - Thursday Evening, Unit Pairs
  • 02/28/2020 - Friday Morning, Pairs
  • 02/29/2020 – 299er Pair
  • 02/29/2020 – 299er Pairs
  • 03/01/2020 – 299er Swiss
  • 03/03/2020 – 499'rs

"Many attendees were older people who might be especially vulnerable to severe illness from COVID-19," said Kimberly Pattison of El Paso County Public Health in a release.

The Colorado legislature has officially suspended its work.

Ski resorts began shutting down and Governor Jared Polis issued an executive order to do so. Monarch Mountain near Salida has closed for the season.

El Paso County officials issues a local disaster emergency declaration on Saturday, aimed at allowing he country to leverage more resources to help fight the spread of the virus.

"The safety and well-being of our citizens in our top priority," said Mark Waller, chair of the El Paso County Board of Commissioners, said in a statement. Waller said the declaration helps provide access to additional medical resources. "Until further notice, people should go about their normal lives with a few modifications to help limit the spread of the disease."

On Saturday, the state health department said the total number of positive cases of COVID-19 in Colorado had reached 101. Most are in Denver County, followed by Eagle, Pitkin and Arapahoe counties.

El Paso County had three cases as of Saturday afternoon while Pueblo County had one.

Cases had been considered presumptive positive until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment that their tests were identical. The CDC said the state no longer needed to send cases for retesting.

The state has issued visitation restrictions for nursing, assisted living and intermediate care centers to help limit the spread of the virus to those at most risk.

On Friday, the U.S. Department of Defense issued new restrictions on domestic travel. The ban applies to all servicemembers and Department of Defense civilians and their families, and with a few exceptions, is in effect March 16 through May 11, 2020. 

Colorado saw its first two presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 on March 5. On March 10, Gov. Polis declared a state of emergency to help combat the growing threat. At that time, colleges and universities began moving to distance learning and many local school districts followed suit with their own breaks to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Health officials continue to stress the importance of good hygiene, including frequent hand washing, wiping down surfaces, and covering coughs and sneezes.

Visit CPR's FAQ on the new coronavirus