COLORADO SPRINGS — The first case of COVID-19 here in Colorado was confirmed one year ago Friday with the first case confirmed in El Paso County following just one day later and a little over one week later Pueblo County confirmed its first case.
Communities across Colorado, including here in southern Colorado, will be reflecting Friday at 6 p.m. with buildings lighting up magenta and a moment of silence, according to El Paso County officials.
At 6:30 p.m., a remembrance ceremony is scheduled to begin at the Capitol, which will feature music, prayers, a song, and a speech from Gov. Jared Polis.
COVID-19 first showed up in the state of Washington in early 2020 and soon started a timeline of events in Colorado.
"It was definitely rapid-fire and we were working diligently to get out in front of the virus," said Dr. Robin Johnson, El Paso County's medical director.
When the first case was confirmed in Colorado on March 5, 2020, it was nearly one week later that Gov. Jared Polis declared a state of emergency and the first death related to the virus happened in El Paso County. It went from no cases in the county to over 350 cases in just one month along with close to 40 deaths.
Johnson said in comparison to what was seen this past November and December, it was just the tip of the iceberg. As of early March 2021, the county has seen 53,000 incidents with hospitalizations approaching 2,600.
"We were unaware at the time of the amount of asymptomatic spread that there was," she said.
Local health leaders faced a lot of unknowns while needing to get the community on board with a strategy to fight the virus. Now, with vaccine distributions well underway, there is also optimism looking ahead. Friday also marks the opening of the next phase of vaccine distributions. Now, Coloradans 60 years and older, frontline essential workers in grocery and agriculture, and people between the ages of 16 and 59 with two or more high-risk conditions are eligible for the vaccine.
A look back at 2020 and COVID-19 in Colorado
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