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Colorado reports first COVID-19 death – a woman in her 80s

Posted at 5:18 PM, Mar 13, 2020

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. – A woman in her 80s living in El Paso County who had underlying health conditions is the first person confirmed to have died of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Colorado, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said Friday afternoon.

Earlier Friday, the CDPHE announced there were 72 presumptive positive cases of the virus in Colorado, and Gov. Jared Polis said he expected there would be more announced in coming days, as well as his expectation that the state’s first death would be announced.

“While we were expecting this day, it doesn't make it any less difficult to hear and share this news. As a state we are in mourning and our hearts go out to the family and loved ones of the Coloradan we lost,” Polis said in a statement.

“We offer our deepest, heartfelt condolences to the family and are saddened by this news,” said El Paso County Public Health Director Susan Wheeling in a statement. “We have a dedicated team of experts working around the clock to protect the health and safety of our community. We are doing everything we can to prevent more loss of lives. We know all of El Paso County, and Colorado, will join us.”

“We care deeply about our older Coloradans and people who have chronic diseases,” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “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.”

El Paso County will hold a press conference in Colorado Springs, along with the governor and lieutenant governor, at 5 p.m.

For the latest COVID-19 updates from across Colorado, click here.

This story was originally published by Blair Miller at KMGH.