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UPDATE: COVID-19 Cases In Eastern Colorado, State's Testing Capabilities

COVID-19 cases reported through March 31

Additional COVID-19 cases are being reported in eastern Colorado. 

As of Wednesday, there were 10 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the counties that fall within the High Plains Public Radio listening area, as follows: Phillips (1), Yuma (2), Kit Carson (4), Baca (3). 

Other counties in the state's eastern plains are seeing a slight uptick in confirmed cases, as well. Logan County, in northwest Colorado, is now reporting six cases, up three since March 28. Morgan County's case count went up one during that time, and was reporting five as of Wednesday.

Other eastern Colorado counties' COVID-19 case counts are as follows, Otero (3), LIncoln (1) and Crowley (1).

Overall, the state reported 3,342 cases as of Wednesday and 80 coronavirus-related deaths.
The state had been operating with two primary ways of testing as of Monday, which are as follows:
Hospital staff, hospitalized patients, and vulnerable, symptomatic patients receiving care at health care facilities can get tested at those facilities.

Critical health care workers and first responders who have symptoms can get tested at community testing sites being run by local public health agencies in various communities.

“Right now, due to limited supplies of testing kits and personal protective equipment, testing needs to be focused on the people who are the most at-risk from this disease and the people in charge of caring for and keeping the rest of us safe. It’s important to protect the most critical element of the health care system," said Scott Bookman, COVID-19 Incident Commander for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).  "We are working hard to get the supplies and capacity to move to broader public testing, but until then our message remains the same: if you have only mild symptoms, self-isolate and don’t wait for a test."

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) on Monday announced that it was working to increase the state's testing capabalities, saying more kits will be provided to local public health agencies onces those supplies are received from FEMA.

In the mean time, in an effort to preserve personal protective equiment (PPE), the CDPHE is recommending that heallth care providers prioritize testing according to three tiers, as follows.

Under tier one, testing is done on hospitalized patients and health care workers with symptons. 

Under tier two:

  • Patients in long-term care facilities or other residential settings such as homeless shelters or correctional facilities with symptoms
  • Patients over age 65 with symptoms
  • Patients with underlying conditions with symptoms
  • First responders with symptoms
  • Critical infrastructure workers with symptoms

People with symptoms who work with vulnerable populations or in group residential settingsOther indivudals with symptoms fall under tier three.

However, the CDPHE is urging people not to wait for a test to self-isolate. People who are not at high riskof severe illness may not need to be evaluated in person or tested for COVID-19. 

And not everyone with symptoms will be tested right away, but the CDPHE is advising you to call your health care provider if your illness becomes more severe, especially if it's accompanied by shortness of breath. 
You can use telehealth or a nurseline to get medical guidance; find out more and access a  list of telehealth and nurseline resources here.