Second Positive COVID-19 Case In Otero County

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Please take the time to read and understand this entire message.

Otero County Health Department – This morning (Thursday 3/26/2020) the Otero County Health Department (OCHD) received a lab report on a resident from Otero County that has tested positive to COVID-19.

We now have two positive cases in Otero County, and one in Crowley County.Out of respect for patient privacy, we will only release the following information (No other information will be released at this time):

The person

  • was asymptomatic, which means was not showing any symptoms.
  • Was placed into quarantine while awaiting test results.
  • Was tested because OCHD received and distributed to medical providers extra test kits from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) for the exact purpose of increased disease surveillance.Our extra test kits allowed us to find this case, so we were actively looking for this.
  • Was placed into isolation after receiving the positive test results.ois a resident of Otero County.
  • At this point, our investigations lead me to believe this is limited community spread (transmission).

According to CDPHE:

  • “Limited community spread (or transmission) means there are cases and outbreaks in certain communities where people became infected, and we are unable to identify the source.”This is exactly where we are with our positive cases right now.
  • “Widespread community spread (or transmission) means there are cases and outbreaks in many communities where people are spreading the virus to other people.”We are definitely not at widespread community spread (or transmission) right now.
  • OCHD has two main priority teams working right now:
    • Disease control and containment.
    • Public health order compliance.
      • We are communicating and working closely with law enforcement agencies throughout Crowley and Otero Counties. If fact, a few minutes ago I had a meeting with local law enforcement (Sheriff’s offices, police departments), emergency management, and the Colorado State Patrol.We have a unified vision and game plan regarding public health order compliance, and OCHD is receiving terrific support from law enforcement!

The CDC has documented asymptomatic COVID-19 carriers, and apparently so have we.

A thorough epidemiological investigation is currently underway, with absolute priority given to contact investigations, risk assessments, and isolation/quarantine information (disease control and containment measures) based upon the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.We will specifically be looking into any possible connections between our other two cases.

Here is what you can do right now:

Please remember our “game plan” or “end game”, whichever phrase you like the best:

  • Our vulnerable populations are at a greater risk, so we want to keep COVID out as long as possible to protect them.
  • We want to keep COVID out as long as possible to allow time to develop and manufacture a vaccine and/or antiviral treatment.Our vulnerable populations and Health Care Workers (HCW) with direct patient access will be prioritized.
  • There is a critical worldwide shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as respirator masks, gloves, etc..We want to keep COVID out as long as possible to conserve the use of PPE and get more resupplied.We need to protect our front-line HCWs so they can continue to help us.
  • And, of course, we just do not want COVID-19 here!
  • My community updates and other information can be found at the following website:

All media requests will go through our Public Information Officer (PIO), Amy Tanabe, at 719-383-3000.

Please stay tuned for more updates, and remember to:

  • Read, understand, and comply with all public health orders!
  • Stay home if you are sick and, if needed, call your medical provider.
  • If you are in a high risk group, take extra precautions.
  • Cover your cough and/or sneeze.
  • Keep your fingers and hands away from your face.
  • Wash your hands a lot.
  • Stay informed by trusted and reliable sources.Be careful about believing what you read on social media sites.Trusted sources/websites:

Do these things so you will be prepared, and not scared.

Until next time,

Richard Ritter, Executive Director
Otero County Health Department
13 West 3rd Street, Room 111
La Junta, Colorado 81050
719-383-3045 (Office)
719-383-3060 (Fax)

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