Colorado state epidemiologist discusses coronavirus prevention

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DENVER (KDVR) -- As COVID-19 cases continue to pop up in major cities throughout the country, the FOX31 Problem Solvers sat down with Colorado’s epidemiologist Rachel Herlihy to discuss what we know about this current strain of coronavirus and the methods to stay healthy.

“There’s not a lot of research on this virus specifically because it is so new, so a lot of the knowledge we have or that we’re using right now is based on other coronaviruses,” Herlihy said.

Hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes are in high demand at local grocery stores as people stock up on supplies to keep surfaces and their hands germ- and virus-free.

“We do believe most transmission probably occurs through respiratory droplets between people,” Herlihy said. “Research on other coronaviruses has suggested that this virus can live on surfaces for several days.”

When you look at labels of products like Clorox or Lysol wipes, it says it’s effective against “human coronavirus” but Herlihy says we don’t know if that applies to COVID-19.

“There are lots of respiratory viruses circulating right now, lots of cold and flu-type viruses, and these are really every day actions to prevent transmission of all of those viruses,” Herlihy

There are zero confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in Colorado. Mayor Michael Hancock said at a press conference about Denver’s preparations that 23 people have been tested so far, and nine tests are pending.

“The risk here in Colorado is low,” Herlihy said. “We don’t have any confirmed cases, but we are certainly preparing for the possibility of transmission.”

The State Department of Public Health and Environment also announced it can now conduct as many as 160 tests per day, with turnarounds expected within 24 hours. Testing is only available for people who meet certain criteria.

CDPHE has the following resources available for people with questions about testing or COVID-19. You can:

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