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Politics and Government

Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman tests positive for coronavirus; Gov. Jared Polis not at risk despite event

The former five-term congressman says his symptoms cleared by Saturday, but he tested positive on Sunday

Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman speaks to reporters in Denver about the 2020 election on Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2020. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)
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Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman on Sunday announced that he has tested positive for COVID-19, becoming one of the highest profile Coloradans to fall ill with the disease.

“I came home from work late Thursday morning not feeling well, but thought I had just a very mild cold with a cough,” Coffman said on Twitter Sunday. “Not to take any chances, I cleared my schedule to work from home until I could get tested just to make sure I didn’t have COVID-19.”

Coffman said his symptoms cleared by Saturday, but that he went to an urgent care clinic on Sunday to get a rapid test so he would be able to go back to the office and resume his schedule.

“Unfortunately, the results of the test were positive,” he said. “I will have to quarantine at home.”

Coffman, who is 65, served five terms as a congressman before winning a tight race last year to become Aurora’s mayor.

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On Oct. 15, Coffman joined Gov. Jared Polis, First Gentleman Marlon Reis, Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera, Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, state Sen. Julie Gonzales, D-Denver, and Denver Clerk and Recorder Paul López in Denver for a news conference on voting.

Attendees wore masks and social distanced except for when they were speaking at a lectern. The event was held outdoors.

A number of reporters and photographers, as well as staffers for the politicians, were also at the news conference.

Polis briefly self quarantined on Sunday as Tri-County Health Department investigators probed the circumstances surrounding Coffman’s infection.

“TCHD disease control investigators conducted an interview with Mayor Coffman this afternoon and have determined that there is no risk to Gov. Polis of being exposed to COVID-19 from Mayor Coffman during a joint appearance they had together on Oct. 15,” Conor Cahill, a spokesman for Polis, said in a written statement on Sunday. “Therefore, Gov. Polis and others at that event with Mayor Coffman have been informed that they do not need to quarantine as a result of this situation.”

Cahill added: “While the Governor was prepared to quarantine, he is relieved that there isn’t a reason to do so under health guidance.”

Gov. Jared Polis with his husband, First Gentleman Marlon Reis, at an Oct. 15 news conference on voting that was attended by Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman, who on Sunday tested positive for COVID-19. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

The governor’s office recommended that others at the event also self quarantine while the health department investigation was underway. That guidance was rescinded at about 4:30 p.m.

Aurora is part of both Adams and Arapahoe counties, which have seen among Colorado’s highest coronavirus infection rates in recent weeks. Health officials have enacted new restrictions in both counties in an attempt to slow the spread of the disease.


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