1st Routt County resident tests positive for COVID-19; officials confirm community spread
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A local resident has tested positive for COVID-19, according to information released late Friday, March 20, by Routt County public health officials.
The individual has been in self-quarantine since Monday, March 16, and is experiencing mild symptoms, according to the county.
Routt County Public Health said the individual’s test results were returned late Friday. Data updated earlier Friday by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment did not include the new positive case in Routt County because the state results are from the previous day.
A private lab was used to conduct the local resident’s testing, according to Dan Hatlestad, joint information center manager for Routt County.
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The individual has not traveled out of the area and additional contact tracing is now underway. Others who may have been in close contact with the resident are being notified.
Officials have not released the resident’s age or gender, as they explained that would violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
Because there was no known contact between the resident and any other individuals who had previously tested positive for COVID-19, this case confirms there is community spread, according to health officials. Community spread means that people have been infected with the virus in a given area, including some patients who do not know how, when or where they got the virus.
This marks the first case of a local resident testing positive for the virus. Routt County had only two previous positive cases, both of which were from out-of-state residents who had visited Steamboat Springs. Both have since recovered from the virus and left quarantine.
A group of seven Australians who had visited Steamboat also tested positive earlier this week upon returning to their home country. Officials could not determine where exactly they contracted the virus.
UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center will begin operating a mobile specimen collection site on Saturday, March 21, at the intersection of U.S. Highway 40 and Walton Creek Road. Specimen collection will run from noon to 5 p.m.
The only patients who will be screened at this time are those with a provider referral after meeting screening criteria and who have a doctor’s order. This is not a screening center for the public at large, and no medical care is available at this location.
The state was originally slated to mobilize its own mobile testing site in Routt County, but those efforts have now been rerouted to Chaffee County.
Kari Dequine Harden contributed to this report.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.
Before immediately heading to the hospital, people who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 have several resources, including:
- The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is providing a phone line to answer questions from the public about COVID-19. Call CO-Help at 303-389-1687 or 877-462-2911 or email email@example.com for answers in English and Spanish, Mandarin and more.
- UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center offers Ask-A-Nurse, a 24/7 call line staffed by registered nurses who can assess symptoms and provide advice on seeking care. In Routt County, Ask-A-Nurse can be reached by calling 970-871-7878.
- Virtual Visits can be done from the comfort of your home and only require a computer or tablet with a working webcam, speakers and microphone, or a smartphone.
- If patients are experiencing severe symptoms or having difficulty breathing, they should visit the hospital’s emergency department.
Take precautions in everyday life:
- Frequently and thoroughly wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash, or use your inner elbow or sleeve.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Stay home if you’re sick and keep your children home if they are sick.
- Clean surfaces in your home and personal items such as cell phones, using regular household products.
- Be calm but be prepared.
- People should wear a mask when going out in public.
To reach Bryce Martin, call 970-871-4206 or email bmartin@SteamboatPilot.com.
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