There are no cases of the corona virus COVID-19 in Montezuma County or in Colorado, said Montezuma County Health Director Bobbi Lock.
Lock said the disease outbreak is being closely monitored by the county and Colorado Department of Public Health.
“We are in constant communication with CDPHE, which in turn gets guidance from the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization,” Lock said in a presentation to the county commissioners Tuesday.
A communicative disease containment plan is updated and ready to be enacted if the virus is confirmed in the county or state, she said.
Corona viruses are a large family of viruses that cause respiratory illness. An outbreak of the severe COVID-19 strain that began in China has caused serious illness and death, and has spread around the world, including to the U.S.
As of Wednesday, 81,280 cases have been confirmed worldwide, with 2,770 deaths, and 30,322 victims who have recovered. In the U.S., there are 57 confirmed cases, no deaths and six recoveries. People with suspected exposure require a 14-day quarantine.
So far, 12 tests from suspected infected people in Colorado have all been negative. Utah and New Mexico also do not have any confirmed cases.
In Tempe, Arizona, an Arizona State University student was diagnosed with COVID-19 but has recovered. Out of seven existing cases in California, two are in Los Angeles, and one is in San Diego.
The risk to Coloradoans is considered low at this time, CDPHE said.
“We don’t know how the illness will unfold in Colorado, but from what we understand right now, most people are unlikely to be exposed to this virus,” the CDPHE website states.
CDPHE is supporting local hospitals and public health laboratories for testing and shipment of suspected specimens to the Centers for Disease Control to test for COVID-19.
Those at greatest risk for COVID-19 are people who have recently traveled to China and people who have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with the disease. Corona viruses are not the same as influenza.
By comparison, Lock said the current flu season in the U.S. has resulted in 22 million to 31 million illnesses, 210,000 to 370,000 hospitalizations and more than 12,000 deaths.
“We have to be informed about COVIG-19 and be ready, and also keep it in perspective to other illnesses,” she said.
As with other respiratory viruses, people should protect themselves and others by practicing everyday actions, including frequent hand washing, covering the nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing, avoiding contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms, staying home if you are sick, and getting an annual flu vaccine.
Reliable and correct information about the COVIG-19 outbreak also is important, Lock said.