DENVER (KDVR) – Two “presumptive positive” cases of the novel coronavirus have been confirmed in Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis said Thursday afternoon.
According to Summit County officials, the first patient is a California man in his 30s. He was visiting Summit County.
The man spent time in Italy in mid-February, Polis said. One of his travel companions during that trip tested positive for the virus.
On Feb. 29, the man flew to Denver International Airport, rented a vehicle and traveled to a condo in Keystone. He did not show symptoms at the time, Polis said.
The governor said the man was in Summit County for outdoor activities. He skied at Vail and Keystone.
The man was spending time with his fiancee and two friends. The friends are Denver residents.
The friends and fiancee are currently in quarantine.
On March 3, the man developed symptoms and went to Saint Anthony Summit Medical Center in Frisco.
Polis said the man was later taken via private vehicle to the Denver metro area so he could be at a lower elevation.
Officials said the man is recovering in isolation in Jefferson County, but did not provide details as to exactly where. He will remain in isolation until cleared by public health officials.
The CDPHE said that because testing was conducted at the state level, it is considered a “presumptive positive” and will be sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmation.
“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,” officials said.
Jill Hunsaker Ryan, the executive director of the CDPHE, said the agency is hopeful the patient will have a swift recovery.
“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,” Hunsaker Ryan said.
Vail Resorts owns Vail and Keystone. The company issued the following statement Thursday evening:
“We were made aware of one presumptive positive case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Summit County, Colo. We are in contact with Summit County Public Health and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and will follow their guidance and recommendations. CDPHE says the risk to the general public is low and local health agencies are actively identifying any close contacts who may have been exposed. The health and wellbeing of our guests and employees is our top priority and we will continue to take all appropriate precautions. We have asked all employees to follow the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We do not expect disruptions to any of our resort operations.”
Powdr Corporation, which owns Summit County-based Copper Mountain, also issued a statement:
“We are aware that there are currently 2 presumptive positive cases of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Colorado and we are closely monitoring the situation. The health and safety of our guests and employees is our top priority and will continue to take all appropriate precautions.
We are in contact with Summit County Public Health and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and will follow their guidance and recommendations.
At this time, Copper Mountain does not expect any interruptions of resort operations.”
The second case is an elderly woman from Douglas County who recently traveled internationally. She is isolated at her home, “per CDC guidelines,” the CDPHE said.
Twelve people have died from the virus in the United States. Eleven of the fatalities occurred in Washington state; the other occurred in California.
A recent surge of cases nationwide has prompted new travel restrictions, school closures and emergency declarations.
Health officials recommend frequent hand washing and staying at least six feet away from people showing symptoms.
Symptoms of the virus include fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the CDC.