El Paso County health officials on Thursday confirmed that a man in his 60s has died of the novel coronavirus, the third known death in Colorado related to the global outbreak and the second in that county.
The man was identified in a Facebook post by local health officials as a contact of the state’s first death, an El Paso County woman in her 80s who died last week.
“We offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends, and we are very saddened by this news,” Susan Wheelan, El Paso County public health director, said in the Facebook post. “Our team, including members of the public health system, are working around the clock to take proactive steps to help limit and slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community, and we ask that residents join us in doing their part. We know these are difficult times, but we are strong, and we will get through this together.”
At least 11 other El Paso County residents have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, local health officials said.
Public health officials feared that the first El Paso County death, a woman who has not been publicly identified, might have exposed scores of older people to the new coronavirus during a bridge tournament in Colorado Springs. On Feb. 29 and March 1, she attended a bridge tournament at the Colorado Springs Bridge Center — an event that attracted around 100 older people from across southern Colorado.
At least one other bridge player has since tested positive for the coronavirus, and two others were hospitalized with symptoms that had not been confirmed to be the virus as of Sunday, the club’s director told The Denver Post.
The state’s second death, a Weld County man who was in his 70s, was announced Tuesday.
State officials have confirmed 216 positive cases of COVID-19, the highly infectious lung disease caused by the virus. Twenty-six people have been hospitalized.
The state has attempted to ramp up testing, but limited resources have prevented mass testing thus far. On Wednesday, San Miguel County announced it would be the first in the country to test its entire population through a blood-drawn test. The county also became the first in Colorado to authorize a shelter-in-place order.