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Coronavirus

Worker at Colorado emergency operations center, where governor briefs media, tests positive for coronavirus

The Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management said the worker tested positive on Saturday

A member of Colorado’s Unified Command Group at the State Emergency Operations Center in Centennial just outside of Denver has tested positive for the new coronavirus, officials say.

The Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management said the worker tested positive on Saturday.

Spokeswoman Micki Trost said staffers who determine they worked in the same area in the last 48 hours are being told to self-quarantine.

Trost said medical screenings of staff are being increased from once daily to twice a day. A decontamination service cleans the facility daily.

The operations center is where Gov. Jared Polis briefs members of the media in person on the state’s response to the coronavirus epidemic. Polis and members of his staff are frequently in the building.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis speaks to reporters about the new coronavirus on Sunday, March 22, 2020, at the state’s emergency operations center. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

Trost said the infected person “shouldn’t have had direct contact with the media,” but that they have been entering and exiting the building through the same health screening and front door as everyone else. Reporters and photographers have their temperature checked before each of Polis’ briefings, as does anyone entering the facility.

As for whether Polis was exposed to the person, his staff doesn’t think so.

“We don’t believe the governor was exposed,” Shelby Wieman, a spokeswoman, said in a written statement.T”his is another reminder for all Coloradans to practice good social distancing, stay home unless it is for essential travel like picking up groceries, to wash your hands and as the governor announced Friday to wear masks when in public. The governor is abiding by these recommendations, has been telecommuting and has kept his in person interactions with others to a minimum. He is thankful for the dedication of everyone working together to respond to this pandemic.”

Polis said this week that he thinks it’s likely he will be infected at some point.

“I think it’s certainly possible that I will and likely that I will. Many Coloradans will,” Polis said in an interview with CBS4 on Wednesday at the emergency operations center. “I already have one friend that’s hospitalized for it, other friends that have tested positive for it. This is going to touch us all.”

Colorado has more than 4,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, and at least 126 deaths.


Colorado Sun staff writer Jesse Paul contributed to this report.

Updated at 11:30 a.m. on April 5, 2020: This story has been updated with comments from Gov. Jared Polis’ office.


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