Pueblo County Confirms Third Known COVID-19 Case, Opens New Testing Site

Mar 20, 2020

Health officials from Pueblo County confirmed a third known COVID-19 case on Friday. The county identified her as female, 48 years old and a resident of Pubelo County. The county also opened a new testing center with the help of the Colorado State National Guard and state health department on Thursday. The mobile testing unit saw over 90 people its first day.

Before that third confirmed case, KRCC's Elena Rivera spoke with Sarah Joseph of the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment. They discussed the basics on COVID-19 and the county’s response to it.

Conversation Excerpts

Elena Rivera [ER]: We've been hearing a lot of terms and I would love to get definitions from you. Is there a difference between quarantine and isolation and social distancing? Do they all mean the same thing or are they different?

Sarah Joseph [SJ]: They're different. So the way I start is when I think of isolation, it starts with the letter I. And that means the illness is in your body. So when the illness is in your body, you are to be isolated so we know that the virus or illness doesn't go to other people. So that's when you are in a room with hopefully a separate ventilation system. Anybody that comes in contact with you would have personal protective equipment on them. Maybe they would wear masks [and] they would have gloves.

Quarantine is when you've been in contact with somebody who does have the virus, somebody that may now be in isolation. But you were in contact with them when they first started getting symptoms. So we want to put you in quarantine to make sure you don't have it and you're not giving it to other people.

And then social distancing is a prevention so others are not getting the illness. That's maintaining a distance of six feet or more. The governor of Colorado has requested no more than 10 people at a gathering at a time. He's closing down businesses where people would gather [to] improve our safety in the long run.

ER: Pueblo also opened a new testing center, correct? What did you see there [when it opened]?

SJ: Pueblo was fortunate to have the state health department send the Colorado National Guard. During the middle of the day, starting at 10:00 a.m., we were able to have 90 people get tested here in Pueblo. We're hoping to get those results by early next week.

Now that we have our second [and after this conversation took place, third confirmed COVID-19] case, we know that COVID-19 is in the Pueblo community. We appreciate everybody staying home. We know everybody has a part to play in reducing the spread and keeping our community healthy.

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There are 27 known COVID-19 cases in El Paso county and 17 in Douglas County, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The department has not announced any confirmed cases in Teller, Fremont or Custer counties at this time.