At a press conference earlier today, March 13, updating the state's response to COVID-19, Governor Jared Polis said, "It is just a matter of time before we have our first fatality here in Colorado." Mere hours later, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has confirmed that a woman in her eighties has died from the virus in El Paso County.
The woman's name has not been released.
"While we were expecting this day, it doesn't make it any less difficult to hear and share this news," Polis said in a release about this development. "As a state, we are in mourning, and our hearts go out to the family and loved ones of the Coloradan we lost."
Adds CDPHE Executive Director Jill Hunsaker Ryan: "We care deeply about our older Coloradans and people who have chronic diseases. This is an all-hands-on-deck effort to slow the spread and support people during these trying times. We know Coloradans will do whatever it takes to help protect those at risk of getting very sick."
Earlier today, Polis revealed Colorado's latest COVID-19 statistics: 72 positive cases in Colorado, including at least four that are evidence of community spread in the Denver metro area — meaning that the individuals impacted don't appear to have been infected by another person known to have the virus. Of those who've tested positive since the first case, confirmed on March 5, eight were hospitalized, with three said to be in critical condition, including the woman in El Paso County who has since passed away.
According to the CDPHE, individuals most likely to get very sick from COVID-19 are:
• Older people (over age sixty), especially those over eighty.
• People who have chronic medical conditions, such as heart, lung or kidney disease, or diabetes.
• Older people with chronic medical conditions.
A press conference about this tragic benchmark is scheduled for 5 p.m. today at the Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management, 3755 Mark Dabling Boulevard in Colorado Springs. Polis and Lieutenant Governor Dianne Primavera are expected to be in attendance.
For more information, visit the CDPHE's coronavirus web page.