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Presumptive positive test for COVID-19 in Summit County as Eagle County Schools keeps some students home

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March 5, 2020, 7:40 pm

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) on Thursday confirmed the state’s first “presumptive positive” test result for the coronavirus, or COVID-19, just over Vail Pass at St. Anthony Summit Medical Center in Frisco.

The patient was identified as a man in his 30s who had traveled to Italy, which has been hit hard by the virus.

In Eagle County, students who recently traveled to Italy for a school trip are going through proper protocols, according to Eagle County Schools.

Here’s the press release from the CDPHE on the Summit County case:

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is reporting that the state laboratory has a positive test result for COVID-19 today. The case presented itself in a male in his 30s,who had contact with a known case of COVID-19. Because the testing was done at the state level, the case is a “presumptive positive” and results will be sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmation. To act as swiftly as possible, the state will proceed as if the case is officially confirmed.

The individual is recovering in isolation in the Denver metro area and will remain isolated until cleared by public health officials. The department is working with the local public health agencies to identify any close contacts who may have been exposed while the person was infectious. Public health practitioners will attempt to contact anyone who may have been exposed and monitor them for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. 

“We are hopeful that the patient will have a swift recovery,” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, a former Eagle County commissioner and not the executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “Like other states, we expected to begin seeing cases in Colorado and that is why we have been preparing for the past couple of months, in conjunction with local public health agencies and healthcare partners. Our goals are to protect the public from the disease, get people the care they need, and minimize disruption to daily lives.”

The department continues to work closely with CDC and public health agencies across the state and is committed to protecting the health and safety of Coloradans.  Health officials advise Coloradans to stay informed, take simple disease prevention measures, and prepare. 

  • 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.

The state will provide timely updates on any additional cases that test positive at the state lab.

Now here’s the statement from Eagle County Schools:

To Battle Mountain High School Community,

Due to increased concerns regarding the Coronavirus (Covid-19), Battle Mountain High School and Eagle County Schools have been working in conjunction with the Eagle County Public Health Department to adhere to CDC directives, advisories and guidelines.   

On March 4th after business hours, we received notice that the CDC has changed its guidelines on travel from Italy, Iran, and South Korea. Consequently, our students and staff who went on the trip to Italy will need to stay home for the remainder of their self-monitoring period, which ends at 6 am on Saturday, as long as they are symptom-free. These students have been complying with the prior CDC protocol of self-monitoring for symptoms. One of the symptoms is fever, a condition that requires students and staff to stay home until they have been fever-free for 24-hours without the aid of medication anyway. With that in mind, we believe asking them to remain at home for the next few days is a technical requirement and nothing for concern. Symptoms may still develop and we are prepared with a response plan should it be necessary.

If anyone traveled to Italy, Iran, South Korea, or China, please call the health department for guidance: 970-328-8840.”

Please understand that Battle Mountain staff are legally unable to speak to any specific student’s or employee’s medical condition or status. 

For more information and updates, please visit: https://www.eagleschools.net/covid19-coronavirus-update or Eagle County Public Health: https://www.eaglecounty.us/publichealth/

Finally, a statement Congressman Joe Neguse, who represents Summit and the eastern part of Eagle County:

“The spread of coronavirus into Colorado and into Summit County is understandably concerning. Although at this point these cases appear to be isolated incidents and unrelated, I am in close communication with state and medical officials who are well-prepared to respond to a possible outbreak. The safety and wellbeing of my constituents and your loved ones is of greatest importance to me and my staff and we are doing everything we can to collect and disseminate accurate information on detection, prevention and response. As with any public health crisis, I urge all Coloradans to seek accurate, validated information and heed the recommendations of local, state, and federal officials to protect themselves from the virus.”

Coloradans are recommended to call the state’s COVID-19 hotline, 877-462-2911, or visit colorado.gov/cdphe/2019-novel-coronavirus for more information.

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