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Gov. Jared Polis begins quarantine after exposure to person with coronavirus

Polis has tested negative for COVID-19 for now, but expects to be retested in the coming days

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis speaks to reporters at a news conference on Sept. 10, 2020. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)
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Gov. Jared Polis announced late Wednesday that he is entering quarantine after exposure to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. The governor said he was tested for the virus Wednesday night, with the results coming back negative.

But, because COVID-19’s incubation period can be up to two weeks, he is expected to be retested in the coming days.

Neither Polis nor his office provided additional information about the exposure, including when it happened and whether it occurred through work or off-the-clock.

Polis said he would follow the quarantine guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. That guidance tells people who have been in “close contact” with someone who later tests positive to quarantine for a full 14 days, regardless of whether they themselves test negative. Close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of someone for 15 minutes or more.

 This week, Polis strongly urged Coloradans to stay home for Thanksgiving and celebrate only with people from their own household. He said he, his partner and their children would be doing just that, to avoid potentially exposing loved ones to the virus.

“We simply love them too much and they love us too much to put one another at risk,” Polis said. “I think most people don’t want to gamble with the lives of their, particularly, elderly family members.”

Polis held an in-person briefing with reporters on the coronavirus crisis Tuesday at the governor’s mansion in downtown Denver.

Polis was forced to briefly quarantine earlier after news broke that Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman had contracted COVID-19. Polis and Coffman were together 10 days before Coffman tested positive.

After a few hours, however, public health officials determined that it was highly unlikely the governor had been around Coffman before he caught the disease and/or was contagious.

Colorado reported more than 3,500 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday. There were 1,794 people with COVID-19 or suspected of having the disease in Colorado hospitals, the highest level ever recorded. During the initial surge of the pandemic in the spring, hospitalizations peaked just shy of 1,300.

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