Summit County patient first to test positive for coronavirus in Colorado |

Summit County patient first to test positive for coronavirus in Colorado

St. Anthony Summit Medical Center in Frisco on Thursday, March 6.
Liz Copan /

FRISCO — A patient being screened for the new coronavirus at St. Anthony Summit Medical Center in Frisco tested positive, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

On Wednesday night, the hospital announced it was investigating a potential case of the novel coronavirus — officially known as coronavirus disease 19, or COVID-19 — after a patient with a recent history of traveling to Italy came to the Summit County medical center’s emergency department with a possible respiratory illness earlier that day.

A test was performed by the state, which returned a presumptive positive result. The test will be sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for official confirmation. Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and Centura Health President and CEO Peter Banko are expected to address the case during a press conference at 4:45 p.m. The case represents the first known case of COVID-19 in the state.

The test was the second performed on a patient at St. Anthony’s. Another test returned a negative result Tuesday, according to hospital spokesperson Brent Boyer. 

The patient was a male in his 30s, and is an out of state visitor to Summit County. According to a statement from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the patient had known exposure to a person with COVID-19 outside of Colorado.

In Colorado, patients are tested only when they meet a number of criteria set by the state to determine whether they’re likely to have the disease: 

  • If a person has a fever or signs of lower respiratory illness and has been in close contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19 within 14 days of when symptoms started
  • If a person has a fever and signs of lower respiratory illness and recently traveled to parts of the world with high infection rates within 14 days of noticeable symptoms
  • If a person has a fever with severe lower respiratory illness that requires hospitalization and other diagnoses such as influenza have already been ruled out

If a medical provider believes the patient meets the testing criteria, the provider will then collect a specimen from the patient’s nose and throat and send the samples to the state lab. Of at least 58 total COVID-19 tests run in Colorado, 37 have returned negative results and 21 are pending, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. 

According to the CDC, the coronavirus is thought to spread primarily from person-to-person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to the flu. Reported symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath, though a somewhat prolonged incubation period means that infected individuals could be carrying the virus for between two and 14 days before symptoms become visible. In extreme cases, patients could face severe respiratory issues and death. 

There is no vaccine to prevent coronavirus, and the CDC has recommended that residents practice everyday preventative actions, including avoiding close contact with people who are sick, staying home when you’re stick, washing your hands often, covering your coughs, properly disposing of tissues and avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth. 

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