Health department updates virus info-sharing procedures in Colorado |

Health department updates virus info-sharing procedures in Colorado

John LaConte
Vail Daily
Gov. Jared Polis speaks during a press conference to address the first confirmed case of Coronavirus in Colorado at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment on Thursday, March 5, 2020. Gov. Jared Polis said the first confirmed individual is a man in his 30s, who traveled to Italy last month and was recreating in Colorado. Polis added that the man's girlfriend, who was traveling with him has been quarantined. A second case was reported during the press conference, but no information was provided by Polis or the officials flanking him. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post)

Expressing a desire to share info via a “single, centralized, credible source,” the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment on Saturday updated its announcing procedures regarding new coronavirus cases in Colorado.

Eagle County was among several local health departments to report cases Friday.

In Eagle and Summit counties, public health offices used their websites and social media to issue updates about their respective coronavirus cases. Eagle County informed the public that the patient was an international traveler to the area, and Summit County published information about the condo their coronavirus patient had stayed in, as well as the airport from which he arrived to Colorado.

On Saturday, Eric France, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Chief Medical Officer, issued a letter to partner groups in the state, issuing the following directives on what to do if those jurisdictions encounter a presumptive case:

When the State Lab at CDPHE confirms a presumptive positive, CDPHE is directed to notify the Governor’s Office, the local public health agency, the provider, and the media. Additionally, as commercial testing becomes available, CDPHE will be notified by laboratories and providers of positive test results and will follow the same communication procedures.

If the presumptive positive case is a resident of another state, CDPHE will take the lead. If the presumptive positive case is a Colorado resident and the county health department has the capacity to manage the investigation, then that county health department takes the lead, and CDPHE plays a supporting role. If the county health department needs support, CDPHE will provide assistance.

The appropriate agency is tasked with continuing the epidemiological investigation — interviews, contact tracing, and issuing isolation and quarantine instructions and orders to prevent community spread.

The CDPHE guidelines also reminded agencies they are not to share identifiable information about the patient such as name, address, or the location of the isolated patient or any individual under quarantine.

France told the Vail Daily on Saturday that the process of alerting the media has not yet been finalized, but the department intends to let the community know what the process will look like soon.

“We are finalizing a process to update the press on new cases,” France wrote in an email.

Eagle County residents expressed a desire to have the same information Summit County shared about their coronavirus patient, including where the person stayed and how they arrived in the area, shared in Eagle County.

Kris Widlak, Director of Communications for Eagle County, said on Saturday that the local investigation was a joint effort between Eagle County Public Health and the CDPHE, but had no more information to share about the patient.

No new cases were reported across the state as of 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, according to the CDPHE.