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Gov. Polis ramping up Colorado's coronavirus response efforts

No one in Colorado has tested positive for coronavirus. Polis said he wants the state to be as prepared as possible for any situation that arises.

DENVER — Gov. Jared Polis announced plans to ramp up Colorado's response to a potential outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus known as COVID-19.

As of Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed more than 100 positive cases in nearly a dozen states across the country, none of which are in Colorado.

Polis' plan involves 10 state agencies working together to prepare a coordinated response to any coronavirus cases that could come to Colorado. 

"We have brought the full weight of state government to bear in our comprehensive statewide effort to be prepared as possible for any situation that arises," Polis said.

Polis said he activated the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) to a "level 2" response to make way for a unity of efforts across state departments and agencies. Polis said he's done this five times before, most often during natural disasters like the bomb cyclone last March. 

There’s also a 19-member committee called the Governors’ Expert Emergency Epidemic Reponses Committee (GEEERC) that advises Polis on response efforts related to coronavirus.

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Twenty-nine people in Colorado have tested negative for COVID-19 as of Tuesday afternoon. Results in eight other tests are still pending, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).

The City of Denver established a task force Monday to keep the public updated on the potential threat. They will begin meeting Tuesday and will coordinate with state agencies, schools, shelters, medical providers and Denver International Airport (DIA). 

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During the task force announcement, Mayor Michael Hancock urged people to use proper hygiene to avoid getting sick, including washing hands often with soap, using sanitizer that’s 60% alcohol, avoiding people who are sick and staying home yourself if you have symptoms of illness.

A state lab now has clearance to test for coronavirus, a task previously limited to the CDC. The Colorado lab can test 160 samples per day.

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