A 41-year-old southern Colorado sheriff’s deputy died Wednesday from the new coronavirus, one of nearly 100 people killed by the virus in the state.
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office says Deputy Jeff Hopkins had been with the agency since 2001 and worked in its law enforcement and detention bureaus. He was married.
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Hopkins’ death was announced by the sheriff’s office on Thursday. “He was an exceptional employee,” Sheriff Bill Elder said. “He was always committed to the mission and the vision of the sheriff’s office and he will be missed.”
Hopkins was most recently working in the county’s jail, overseeing inmate intake and release. Health officials say they aren’t aware of any underlying health conditions that he may have had.
“He had been having symptoms for about seven to 10 days is our understanding,” said Dr. Robin Johnson, medical director for El Paso County Public Health. “That will be more clear as our investigation moves forward. We do know that the course of disease has a little bit of a waxing and waning.”
Elder said eight people, including Hopkins, in his sheriff’s office have tested positive for the virus. That’s out of 800 people in the agency.
“People are getting better,” he said, “even the ones that have had (it).”
At least 99 people in Colorado have died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, through Thursday. That’s an increase of 19 deaths over Wednesday.
El Paso County was tied for the highest number of deaths in Colorado through Thursday, with 16.
Weld County has also reported 16 deaths from the disease. Montezuma County reported its first death.
The deaths by county are:
- El Paso County – 16
- Weld County – 16
- Denver – 11
- Arapahoe County – 10
- Jefferson County – 9
- Larimer County – 7
- Adams county – 7
- Eagle County – 5
- Pueblo County – 2
- Pitkin County – 2
- Chaffee County – 2
- Broomfield County – 2
- Boulder County – 2
- Teller County – 1
- Elbert County – 1
- Out of state – 1
- Montezuma County – 1
- Gunnison County – 1
- Garfield County – 1
- Douglas County – 1
- Crowley County – 1
New deaths are announced daily by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and on Thursday the state said there were 97 fatalities.
But Elbert County on Monday announced a death linked to coronavirus — a man in his 70s who was tested after he died on March 26 — bringing the total to 98. And then Eagle County on Thursday announced a man in his 80s died on Wednesday in the care of his family at home, bringing the total to 99.
There are more than 3,700 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Colorado, though health officials say up to 10 times that number may actually be infected. The disease is in at least 53 of the state’s 64 counties.
More than 700 people are hospitalized.
Hopkins is one of the youngest people in Colorado yet to die from the coronavirus. There are at least three people between the ages of 40 and 49 who have been killed by the disease.
The majority of Colorado’s coronavirus deaths are among people age 80 and older. At least 55 people in that cohort have died.
Gov. Jared Polis mourned the loss of Hopkins in a statement.
“My condolences go out to Deputy Hopkins’ family. Deputy Hopkins spent his life serving his community and working to make our state a better place,” Polis said. “This is an incredibly difficult time for our state, and even more so for those who have lost a loved one. Each tragic death from Coronavirus is a stark reminder of why we need to stay at home. We can’t thank our first responders and law enforcement enough for serving on the front lines, demonstrating in this crisis and every day their dedication and sacrifice.”
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