Health department investigating rat problem in Westminster neighborhood

Problem Solvers

WESTMINSTER, Colo. (KDVR) — Staying inside and social distancing is difficult for some but when there are dozens of rats running around, residents in one Westminster neighborhood say staying inside is no problem.  

“As soon as the sun goes down, they come out,” Gilberto Palomino told the FOX31 Problem Solvers.

He says he has seen as many as 25 rats scaling fences and running across yards. The college professor is social distancing but says teaching online classes on his patio is out of the question.

“I cannot do that because the rats are running!” he said.

Palomino says he turned to the Problem Solvers when he couldn’t get anyone to address the issue.  

FOX31 reached out to the Tri-County Health Department, which responded immediately, launching an investigation.  

Residents are concerned about whether the rats can spread the coronavirus. Tri-County Health provided a statement saying, “It’s unknown if rats can spread COVID-19. It is unlikely we would see someone get it from a rat here in Colorado.”

Rats are drawn to food, so reducing any risk is possible by sealing garbage.  

Health officials say with so many people isolating and cooking at home more, the rats are enjoying increased access to garbage.

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