DENVER (CBS4)- Gov. Jared Polis declared a state of emergency for Colorado on Tuesday morning due to coronavirus. There are 15 confirmed cases in Colorado.
There are "presumptive" positive cases in Denver, Douglas County, Eagle County, El Paso County, Summit County, Larimer County, Gunnison County and Arapahoe County. Those cases are considered presumptive until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention verifies the results.
"The top priority is to expand testing capacity in Colorado so eventually we can reach the point where anyone who is exhibiting flu-like symptoms can be tested," said Polis.
The first cases of coronavirus or COVID-19 in Colorado were reported last Thursday. Polis confirmed that there are three more cases since Monday afternoon, putting the total at 15.
Polis made the announcement with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the Colorado Office of Emergency Management, and the Colorado Department of Public Safety.
Polis said the CDPHE location in Lowry will include a drive-up lab testing facility for those who have a doctor's order. That location will be open starting on Wednesday. It is not the CDPHE location in Glendale, Polis stressed, but the location in Lowry.
"We will continue the pressure on our federal government to rapidly expand testing capacity and ensure that Colorado has enough tests that we can identify positive cases, isolate them and quarantine those who may have been exposed," said Polis.
Polis encouraged anyone renewing their driver license to do so online to avoid congregating in areas like the DMV. He referred to the recent case of a person who tested positive in Douglas County who had visited the DMV in Castle Rock before showing symptoms.
"In the days ahead, as we test more Coloradans, Coloradans should expect the numbers to rise and see an increase in positive cases. Testing more people is a very good thing. This test is a crucial tool in our efforts to slow the spread of the virus and to ensure that those individuals who have tested positive, and need to isolate, have the support they need during this challenging time," said Polis.
He also encouraged anyone who is exhibiting symptoms to contact their medical provider and follow their instructions, stay home from work or school, stay away from other people to stop the spread of infection and wash their hands.
"Our most vulnerable population, including those over 60 and those with chronic health issues, are urged to avoid public gatherings," said Polis.
Polis also said with the State of Emergency, there will be changes that will help prevent the spread of the virus and also inspire confidence in both tourists and Coloradans that the state is minimizing the risk across the state in those professions that have contact with a lot of people from many different regions.
"With the declaration of this emergency, I'm directing the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment to engage in emergency rule making to ensure that workers in food handling, hospitality, child care, health care and education, get paid sick leave to miss work if they exhibit flu-like symptoms, and have to miss work awaiting their testing results for novel coronavirus," said Polis.
Additional Information from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment:
- 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-- like 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.
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