The first person in Colorado who tested positive for the new coronavirus traveled through DIA

“There is no reason to believe at this time that other travelers were exposed, per CDC guidance,” Gov. Polis said.
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Security lines weren’t actually that bad at Denver International Airport on a very snowy day, Oct. 29, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

An out-of-state man who visited Summit County and is the first person to test positive for the new coronavirus traveled through Denver International Airpot on Feb. 29, Gov. Jared Polis said Thursday during a press conference.

Polis said the state has been in contact with DIA, which was not immediately available for comment. The man is recovering in Jefferson County.

"There is no reason to believe at this time that other travelers were exposed, per CDC guidance," Polis said.

Alex Renteria, public information officer for DIA, sent Denverite this statement: "We are aware of the presumptive positive COVID-19 patient identified in Colorado. Per the CDC, the patient traveled through DEN on Feb. 29 while they were asymptomatic. When a person is asymptomatic, they are unlikely to spread any illness. We are working with the CDPHE to verify the patient's travel details. The CDC will make the ultimate decision whether passengers on his flight need to be notified and they would make the notification.

"In addition, we urge all passengers and employees to thoroughly wash their hands with soap regularly for at least 20 seconds, utilize our hand sanitizer stations and cough and sneeze into their elbow," she continued. "All of these are easy and effective ways to avoid contracting or transmitting common colds, flu and other viruses."

The Denver Department of Public Health & Environment said two companions of the man who live in Denver have agreed to "proactively quarantine themselves in their home and not continue their regular activities in the community until the full incubation period (14 days) has passed and it has been determined that they are not potentially infectious. They are currently not symptomatic and will not be tested for COVID-19 unless they become symptomatic."

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said the man is his 30s. He had previously traveled to Italy, where there's an outbreak of the virus. Polis said the man was asymptomatic when he traveled to Colorado. He added that the travel companion of the man is a known case who tested positive for the virus in another state.

The state agency said the man was exposed to the virus through close contact with a person outside Colorado. The state has called the results of the man's test a "presumptive positive" because it was tested by the state; it's being sent to CDC for confirmation.

The agency said public health practitioners will notify anyone else who may have been exposed.

Polis announced there is a presumptive second positive case in Colorado. The governor said this case was not related to the first.

Mayor Michael Hancock's office issued Denverite a statement Thursday, via spokesman Mike Strott: "City officials have been preparing for potential cases of COVID-19 since concerns of the virus first appeared overseas. Our highest priority remains protecting and preparing our residents for any potential risk to public health and safety. With the first cases of the virus here in Colorado, we encourage our residents to take extra care to mitigate and reduce their risk of contracting any respiratory virus, including washing their hands and remaining home if they have flu-like symptoms."

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This story is developing.

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