Editor’s note: In the interest of public safety, this story is provided free to all readers. Support more reporting like this with a Greeley Tribune subscription.
As state health officials work through a backlog of test results for the new coronavirus, county officials reported Saturday the total number of positive cases in Weld County rose to 31.
Eric Aakko, spokesman for the Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment, said county health officials expect another increase in the county’s case total today.
“The state lab is getting through their backlog of testing results, so we are getting notified in batches,” Aakko said.
County officials don’t have any idea about how many more residents could be infected, since most who contract the virus don’t show symptoms, according to Aakko.
“That’s why social distancing and staying home if you’re sick is so important,” he said.
This past week, data released by state officials showed the first person who tested positive in Colorado started showing symptoms Feb. 17, more than two weeks before Gov. Jared Polis announced the state’s first case on March 5.
People across the state have reported difficulty getting tested for the virus and delays in getting results, The Denver Post reported this past week. Aakko said health officials initially were told test results would have a turnaround of one or two days, but they’re seeing some take twice as long. These difficulties and delays widen the gap between the number of actual cases and the number of positive cases reported by officials.
Aakko wasn’t sure whether there have been instances of community spread — when people have been infected and some aren’t sure how or where — in Weld County.
“Certain health care providers can do testing, so we may just be informed of the results, versus being able to do a follow-up investigation on every single case,” Aakko said.
The county health department has not yet received any testing kits from the state, but protective equipment for health care providers has been trickling in.
“I’m anticipating (testing kits are) coming, but we have not heard word yet about when,” he said.
When those kits come, local officials plan to have a drive-through sampling center in Greeley.
As of about noon Sunday, state officials have reported 475 cases and five deaths due to COVID-19 across Colorado. One of those deaths included a Weld County man in his 70s.
Polis is scheduled to give an update about state officials’ response to the pandemic at the conclusion of the White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing. A livestream from Polis’ Facebook page will be shared here when the broadcast starts.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to show the governor’s update about the state response to the outbreak will begin at the conclusion of the White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing.
- Public health expert warns virus not going away – KSAT San Antonio
- Tesla asks employees to resume production at Fremont car plant despite coronavirus health orders – CNBC
- Major health groups and charities urge Trump to reverse World Health Organization funding decision – CNN
- Public health officials push back on May opening | TheHill – The Hill
- Analysis | The Health 202: Los Angeles is racing to discover the true coronavirus infection rate – The Washington Post
- Some Public Health Officials Not Releasing Coronavirus Hospitalizations : Shots – Health News – NPR
- Covid-19 health-care crisis could drive new developments in robotics, editorial says – The Washington Post
- Lost Your Health Insurance During the COVID-19 Crisis? Here Are Your Options – The Motley Fool
- El Paso virus cases jump to 35 as health leaders warn of increased risk of ‘community spread’ – KVIA El Paso