DENVER (CBS4) - Gov. Jared Polis says the state confirmed 33 cases of coronavirus on Wednesday. Nine of those cases are in Pitkin County; six of which are Australians who visited Pitkin County.
"These visitors are currently in quarantine. CDPHE staff, in conjunction with Pitkin County Public Health, are monitoring people who may have been exposed," said Karen Koenemann, Director of Pitkin County Public Health, in a statement.
Polis says those cases are all related to a single case previously discovered in the area, a visitor from Australia.
"We can confirm community spread in the high country," Polis said. "We are likely on the verge of a tipping point where we will see more community spread in the days and weeks ahead."
Polis stated they could not confirm community spread in the Denver metro area, but they are taking precautions as if that is the case.
New testing will help state officials determine the level of community spread, he says.
He said the virus will be hitting the resort mountain communities first, raising concern for the amount of people traveling back and forth between high country communities and other parts of the state. He also noted the virus' possible impact on those mountain town hospitals and medical facilities.
Polis stressed the importance of Coloradans taking precautions seriously.
"What is required is individual responsibility and action. That means every Coloradan needs to take personal responsibility to practice best hygiene practices... including isolating themselves if you are sick with flu-like symptoms," he said. "We all have a role to play. This is essential."
He went on to urge older Coloradans or those part of the vulnerable population, those with underlying health conditions, to avoid large gatherings, settings and traveling.
Polis and state officials say they issued guidance to all K-12 schools in the state which have a student or employee who tests positive for COVID-19 to close for 72 hours in order to clean the premises.
Schools with multiple cases are recommended to close for 14 days.
Also Wednesday, a drive-up testing site opened at 8100 E. Lowry Blvd. Residents must have a doctor's note to get a test.
Multiple college campuses in Colorado announced they shifted to remote/virtual teaching.
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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