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The Montezuma County Public Health Department and Southwest Health System on Saturday announced the county’s first positive case of COVID-19.
According to Southwest Health System, officials were notified of the positive test result Saturday. They then alerted the county’s Public Health Department.
The county released a statement about the case Saturday afternoon.
“The individual resides in Montezuma County,” the statement said. “Due to privacy laws, no more information about the infected individual will be released. Montezuma County Public Health Department is conducting contact tracing according to CDC protocols.”
Southwest also released a statement.
“This result was collected at the SHS drive-up flu clinic, the only testing site in Montezuma County,” the release said. “Montezuma County Public Health Department was immediately notified of the result. They will start their process of interviewing and notifying those who may have had contact with this person.”
Southwest Health System CEO Tony Sudduth also offered additional details through a video livestream Saturday. He told viewers to remain calm and continue following SHS recommendations.
“For the last couple weeks, we’ve been approaching the COVID-19 pandemic with the assumption that there was an active case in Montezuma County,” Sudduth said. “Today we have confirmation that this was an accurate assumption.”
Sudduth noted that people who might have been in contact with the infected individual would be contacted by the Health Department.
“The Montezuma County Health Department has spoken with the individual, and will determine if there is any potential exposure to others,” he said. “From that point, they will notify anyone else as appropriate. So rest assured, anyone determined to be at risk from being in contact with this individual, will be notified.”
Sudduth said the individual was not experiencing “significant effects” of the coronavirus.
“Which is why we’ve been saying that we think there are active cases in the county, and just did not know that there was the virus with them,” he said.
The Health Department advised residents to “carefully consider” essential travel and to remain at home as much as possible.
“All Montezuma County residents should assume that the COVID-19 virus is present in the community, and will continue to spread if people do not adhere to the stay-at home executive order,” the statement said.
Southwest Health System again urged residents to practice social distancing.
“Those experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough and shortness of breath should isolate at home, assume they have the virus, and treat their symptoms,” Southwest said .
For a specific question or concern, residents can call the Southwest COVID-19 patient information line at 564-2201.