Health Alert: Coronavirus Update
Tri-County Health Department (TCHD) has provided the following update regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19). For more information on the COVID-19, visit the TCHD website.
Importantly, at the present, the risk to the general public is low and Colorado has no cases.
As of Feb. 27, 2020, there are over 82,000 confirmed human infections and over 2,700 deaths reported due to COVID-19 around the world. Fortunately, the World Health Organization (WHO) states that the outbreak in China appears to have peaked between Jan. 23 and Feb. 2, 2020 and has been declining steadily since then. On the other hand, infection has been spreading to other countries around the world, with 60 cases having currently been reported in the U.S.
Data regarding how easily the infection can spread, the severity of disease, the death rate, and who is at risk for severe infection are still being collected based on experiences in other countries. In short, what we understand right now is that COVID-19 is a respiratory illness spreading from person-to-person; symptoms can range from mild (like a cold) to severe (pneumonia and hospitalization). Persons at older age or with significant underlying medical problems appear to be at higher risk for severe disease. The public health system, across the state and nation, is focused on slowing the spread of the virus, preparing for a potential pandemic, and ensuring the safety of the communities we serve. At TCHD, we are preparing for potential widespread transmission of COVID-19, even though there are currently no cases in Colorado. Below are details about TCHD’s planning efforts and how to get more information.
What is TCHD Doing?
TCHD is working to ensure we are prepared to respond should the TCHD jurisdiction be impacted with a confirmed case of COVID-19 and continue preparations if higher levels of disease occur in our region.
- We are utilizing our Public Health Emergency Operations Plan, developed many years ago for situations such as this one, which includes activating our pandemic and community containment plans in the event that we have positive cases. Our response plans contain tools and protocols to assess potential exposures and ill people and implement disease control measures. Over the years, we’ve built strong relationships with our emergency management and health and medical partners to ensure our response is proactive, strong and collaborative.
- In order to effectively respond to the tasks associated with this evolving incident, TCHD has activated our Public Health Incident Management Team (PHIMT) in support of public information, logistics, tactical, and planning efforts.
- We are participating on regular calls hosted by CDC to ensure we stay up-to-date and understand current guidance and recommendations.
- We are also participating on regular statewide calls with CDPHE and other local public health agencies (LPHAs) to understand the current situation and associated impacts in Colorado, as well as to coordinate efforts related to protocols around a potential case, conducting the necessary investigation, and information sharing.
- We are working with CDPHE and other LPHAs and following federal guidance regarding monitoring travelers who return to CO from China or other affected areas, testing for the infection, and implementing necessary restriction of movement of travelers who might been exposed internationally.
- TCHD, other LPHAs, and CDPHE are fielding calls regarding patients with a history of travel to China with respiratory symptoms to assess for potential COVID-19. A technical term called Persons Under Investigation (PUIs) is being used by CDC to define a person who had a known or suspect exposure, has concerning symptoms, and is being tested for COVID-19. So far in Colorado, 16 PUIs have been tested — 12 tests have been negative and 4 tests are currently pending.
- We have established a TCHD coronavirus web page that is complimentary to both the CDPHE web page and associated information from CDC.
- CO HELP (1.877.462.2911) is activated for COVID-19 for questions from the public. As a reminder, the Colorado Health Emergency Line for the public is a toll-free hotline for up-to-the-minute public health information.
- To report a suspect case or for additional guidance, please call TCHD Communicable Disease Epidemiology: 303.220.9200 (business hours) or 720.200.1486 (after hours).
- Find General Colorado-specific information about confirmed cases, negative tests, and pending tests.