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The Montezuma County Public Health Department and Southwest Health System announced Saturday the county’s first positive case of COVID-19.
According to Southwest Health System, officials were first notified of the positive test result on Saturday (March 28). After receiving the result, they alerted the county’s Public Health Department.
The county released a statement about the case on Saturday afternoon.
“The individual resides in Montezuma County,” the statement reads. “Due to privacy laws, no more information about the infected individual will be released. Montezuma County Public Health Department is conducting contact tracing according to CDC protocols.”
Southwest also released a statement about the positive test.
“This result was collected at the SHS drive-up flu clinic, the only testing site in Montezuma County,” the release says. “Montezuma County Public Health Department was immediately notified of the result. They will start their process of interviewing and notifying those who may have had contact with this person.”
Southwest Health System CEO Tony Sudduth also offered some additional details through a video livestream Saturday. He told viewers to remain calm and continue following the health system’s recommendations.
“For the last couple weeks, we’ve been approaching the COVID-19 pandemic with the assumption that there was an active case in Montezuma County,” Sudduth said. “Today, we have confirmation that this was an accurate assumption.”
Sudduth noted that all those at risk of having been in contact with the infected individual would be contacted by the Montezuma County Public Health Department.
“The Montezuma County Health Department has spoken with the individual, and will determine if there is any potential exposure to others,” he told viewers. “From that point, they will notify anyone else as appropriate. So rest assured, anyone determined to be at risk from being in contact with this individual, will be notified by the Montezuma County Health Department.”
While details about the person who tested positive were not released, Sudduth said “the individual is not at this time experiencing significant effects” from the coronavirus.
“Which is why we’ve been saying that we think there are active cases in the county, and just did not know that there was the virus with them,” he added.
The Public Health Department advised residents to “carefully consider” essential travel and to try to remain at home as much as possible.
“All Montezuma County residents should assume that the COVID-19 virus is present in the community, and will continue to spread if people do not adhere to the Stay At Home Executive Order,” the statement says.
Southwest Health System agreed in its statement, urging residents to practice social distancing.
“Those experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough and shortness of breath should isolate at home, assume they have the virus, and treat their symptoms,” Southwest officials said in their statement.
For a specific question or concern, residents can call the Southwest COVID-19 patient information line at 564-2201.
This is a developing story. Check back in for additional updates.