Colorado testing for coronavirus but risk is still low

The Centers for Disease Control has investigated three Colorado cases of potential novel coronavirus with two patients testing negative for the virus while the results of the third test are pending.

Colorado health officials emphasize it is normal in similar situations to have cases under investigation because health care providers are being especially cautious in looking for symptoms and the public has a heighted awareness of the situation.

 

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Colorado officials say that to date, there are no confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the state.

The risk to the general public is also low, officials said.

“At this time of year, there are many causes of respiratory illness in Colorado and around the globe,” said Dr. Rachel Herlihy, state communicable disease epidemiologist, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “It’s understandable that people may be worried about the appearance of a new virus, but the health risk to the general public in Colorado remains low.”

“This heightened level of caution and awareness among the health care community and the general public is what we want,” said Tony Cappello, division director, Disease Control and Public Health Response, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “There’s a lot we still don’t know about the novel coronavirus, but we are confident that Colorado’s response is strong, proactive, and collaborative. Coloradans’ safety is out top priority.”

Symptoms of coronavirus infection may include fever, cough and/or shortness of breath and usually appear within two to 14 days. Anyone experiencing these symptoms, who also has a recent history of travel to China, especially Wuhan City, should first call a healthcare provider, urgent care, or hospital for instructions before going to a clinic or emergency room.

People worried about the virus can protect themselves by:

  • Washing your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Covering your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing.
  • Avoiding close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms
  • Staying home if you are sick.

People can visit the department’s 2019-nCoV web page for more information about symptoms and prevention. People can also call CO-Help at 303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911 or contact by e-mail COHELP@RMPDC.org.