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Governor declares emergency as number of Colorado COVID-19 cases reaches 17

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Chris Sorensen

Colorado Governor Jared Polis declared an emergency in the state Tuesday morning as the number of presumptive positive tests for the COVID-19 coronavirus reached 17, with another test coming back inconclusive. While the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment laboratory is able to conduct testing, positive results require confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The first two presumptive positive cases were announced last Thursday, with five more presumptive positive tests Friday. No new cases were identified over the weekend, however four more were announced Monday. Tuesday, five additional presumptive positives were announced.

Presumptive positive cases by county as of Wednesday Morning

  • Arapahoe County: 2
  • Jefferson: 1
  • Denver County: 5 (plus 1 indeterminate case)
  • Douglas County:  3
  • Eagle County: 3
  • El Paso County: 1
  • Summit County 1 (currently isolated in Adams County)
  • Larimer County 1

The first cases of COVID-19 come as little surprise. State agencies have expected COVID-19 to appear in Colorado and have been preparing for weeks to address health needs in coordination with local public health agencies.

According to CDPHE, COVID-19 is primarily spread through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. People who have sustained contact within six feet of an infected individual are most at risk of transmission.

Health officials are advising Coloradans to stay informed, take simple disease prevention measures, and prepare. 

  • Practice good hygiene. Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. In the absence of soap and water, use hand-sanitizer with on alcohol content of at least 60 percent.
  • Use your elbow or sleeve to cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Stay home if you're sick; keep your children home if they are sick. The illness can last for many days so, make preparations now to work from home if possible.
  • Always be prepared for an emergency -- like a large snowstorm -- and have a plan for your family.  Make sure to have at least 72 hours of key supplies on hand such as medications, infant formula, diapers, pet food, etc. FEMA guidance for pre-pandemic COVID-19 preparedness is available at
  • Stay informed with reliable, up-to-date information. People who have general questions about COVID-19 can call CO HELP at 303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911, or email