Aussies test positive for coronavirus at ski resort in Aspen, put in isolation


The group were all holidaying at the popular US destination with another Australian woman, 21, who tested positive after returning home last week, The Aspen Times reports.

Pitkin County Public Health yesterday said there are nine “presumptively positive patients”.

In an update issued today, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment confirmed a 10th Australian, a man aged in his 70s, has tested “presumptive positive”.

The other nine people who tested positive include six men and three women, with eight of the nine aged in their 50s, 60s or 70s. One woman is in her 20s.

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On Wednesday (local time), Pitkin County’s public health director Karen said three other people had refused to be tested for the coronavirus, which has been declared a pandemic.

“They did not give reasons why they didn’t want to be tested,” she said.

None of them have been hospitalised but all have been issued isolation orders, Ms Koenemann said.

“These visitors are currently in quarantine,” she said.

“(State public health department) staff, in conjunction with Pitkin County Public Health, are monitoring people who may have been exposed. We hope that these folks recover quickly and there is no additional spread in Pitkin County.”

A total of 18 people had been travelling with the 21-year-old Australian woman but five of them did not exhibit any symptoms and were not tested.

“I would like to ask our community to help us as we respond to this crisis by trusting that we have the best available teams locally, statewide and nationally working on containing the virus,” Pitkin County Commissioners Chairman Steve Childs said on Wednesday.

“This is not the time to panic, but to take measures to avoid getting sick and be prepared to spend an extended amount of time at home if you do get sick.”

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Outside The Little Nell hotel in Aspen. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied

The Aspen Times reported the 13 people in state-ordered isolation are at locations including The Little Nell hotel.

“It is a precarious time in the world right now and … we are all in this together,” the hotel said on Facebook, confirming two guests could be released from their “mandated quarantine” on or around March 20.

“The couple is sharing a guest room and have been self-isolating since Sunday, March 8.

“While they are self-isolating, we are caring for them without physical contact. Housekeeping services have been paused. In-room dining deliveries are made with disposable containers left for the guests at their door.”

They must stay in isolation for 14 days from the last day of exposure and then have two negative test results along with an improvement in symptoms.

If for any reason the order is not followed, the public health department can take court action, according to the Denver Post.

“They’re sick and away from home,” Ms Koenemann said.

“It’s a little stressful and emotional. We’re trying to take a compassionate approach and make sure they have the medication they need and are taken care of. These are people we care about.”

The public health department said systems are in place “to address the needs of the affected individuals”.

“The property managers have been given information on how to protect themselves and proper cleaning procedures to prevent the spread of coronavirus,” it said.

News.com.au has contacted the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for comment.





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