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Coronavirus in Colorado going into spring break

With COVID-19 progressing through the world and through the United States, including Colorado, here are some quick updates for the Colorado State University community.

In an email to The Collegian, Lori Lynn, associate executive director of the CSU Health Network and one of the co-chairs for the COVID-19 response planning team at CSU, said her staff has been trained to manage an increased volume of patients.

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“The University has been watching the situation unfold for many weeks and the CSU Health Network has been preparing, knowing that at some point Larimer County will have COVID-19 cases,” Lynn wrote. “We believe we have the necessary supplies to meet the anticipated need. The Health Network can test students for the virus and we are ready to respond.” 

Lynn also said that the University weighs many factors when considering its response to the emerging threat from COVID-19, including factors like incidences of cases in the community and potential risk for exposure to community members.

In an email statement to The Collegian, Kelly Tracer, media relations specialist for UCHealth in Northern Colorado, said that UCHealth is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to follow the most up-to-date screening, testing and treatment recommendations for COVID-19. 

“All UCHealth locations … have procedures in place to identify and isolate a patient who might have a disease like COVID-19,” Tracer wrote. “If a patient at one of our facilities is suspected of having an infectious disease, the patient is placed in a secure isolation room where the possibility of transmitting the disease to others is minimal. The patient also would be cared for by staff who are wearing appropriate protective equipment.”

Tracer also said UCHealth recently added visitor restrictions and policies at all their hospitals, including Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins and Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland.

The policies include: a patient who is checking in should tell staff and ask for a mask if they have a fever, a cold or flu symptoms; visitors with cold or flu symptoms are not allowed to visit any area; no more than two visitors are allowed at one time; and anyone under 12 years of age is not allowed to visit any area.

The Larimer County Department of Health and Environment announced Monday that there was a presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in the county. The case is a Johnstown resident, according to the press release.

The case brings Colorado’s current tally to 33 cases, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, as of March 11. In a verbal statement released Tuesday, Gov. Jared Polis declared a state of emergency in Colorado in response to COVID-19.

“Our top priority is protecting public health and our vulnerable populations, which is why we are taking swift, bold action,” Polis said. “We will continue to be proactive and working around the clock to protect public health and safety with an eye (toward) preventing the need for drastic measures that result in social disruption.”

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According to the Colorado government website, some details of the executive order include directing the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment to engage in emergency rule-making that ensures paid sick leave for workers in designated fields if they exhibit flu-like symptoms and have to miss work awaiting testing. The order also includes strategies for helping workers who fall ill that cannot work remotely, such as correctional officers and assisted living staff.

In an email to all faculty, staff and employees Tuesday, CSU President Joyce McConnell provided information about CSU’s response to COVID-19, including a new informational webpage as well as “comprehensive travel guidelines.” 

“As you may know, Governor Polis declared a state of emergency in Colorado today — we obviously are engaging directly with his office around what that means for our community,” McConnell said. “We are working literally around the clock to prepare for whatever next steps we need to take.” 

The University of Colorado Boulder, Denver and Colorado Springs campuses are moving classes online as COVID-19 continues to spread, according to The Denver Post. The campuses will remain open, however, so places such as dorms and dining halls will remain in operation.

Noah Pasley can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @PasleyNoah.

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About the Contributor
Noah Pasley
Noah Pasley, News Editor
Noah Pasley is a senior journalism and media communication major with a minor in English. He is excited to continue his career with The Collegian and spend more time focused on reporting on social issues as well as reporting on breaking news in the Colorado State University and Fort Collins communities. As news editor, Pasley is hoping to spend more time in the community following stories and uplifting student voices. When he isn’t writing, he’s usually hunkered down with a video game and a good playlist. As a senior, Pasley is very excited to get underway with the rest of his college experience. He is most interested in learning more about the world of film and video, which he also explores daily as the Tuesday night entertainment anchor over at CTV 11. Noah Pasley can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @PasleyNoah.

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