Colorado Gov. Jared Polis declared a state of emergency Tuesday to help in the state’s efforts to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“Today in order to contain the spread of the coronavirus, to protect our most vulnerable populations, and to maximize our chances of avoiding widespread disruptions of the daily lives of Coloradoans and our economy, I am declaring a state of emergency here in Colorado,” Polis said.
The disaster declaration gives the state access to additional resources and more flexibility to coordinate efforts to fight the spread of the disease.
Polis said the state is working to expand testing capacity in Colorado so anyone who shows symptoms of the virus can be tested quickly. The governor said the state’s Department of Insurance directed insurance companies across the state to waive costs associated with the testing.
As of Tuesday morning, 15 Colorado residents had been diagnosed with COVID-19. At least eight Colorado counties have at least one confirmed case of COVID-19, a respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The disease has caused 26 deaths in the U.S. COVID-19 symptoms appear within two to 14 days after exposure and include fever, cough, runny nose and difficulty breathing.