COVID-19 Coronavirus

CDC image of a Coronavirus

COVID-19 Antibody Testing Activity in Denver

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and Denver Public Health are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to learn more about the spread of COVID-19 in the community. This antibody testing will help us estimate the percentage of people in the community who have been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. Some people may have had COVID-19 but were not tested, did not have any symptoms, or did not seek medical care.  

In late July of 2020 teams will be visiting randomly selected homes in the City and County of Denver to ask residents questions about their health, and to collect blood samples for an antibody test. Antibodies are proteins the body makes in response to infection. The antibody test can tell us whether a person might have had a past infection with the virus that causes COVID-19. The antibody test is not meant to diagnose whether a person has COVID-19 now. All members of the households selected will be asked to participate, including children.

Participation is voluntary, and you can ask the teams any questions you have before agreeing to participate.

If your home is selected, please consider participating in this important work. You can help us learn more about COVID-19!

Updated July 7, 2020. COVID-19, or coronavirus disease 2019, is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. An outbreak of the virus that causes COVID-19 was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China in December 2019, and cases have now been found internationally, including in the U.S.

For general questions, the public can call CO HELP at 1-877-462-2911 or (303) 389-1687. Providers or healthcare personnel in Denver can call the Denver Public Health Epidemiology Line at 303-602-3614, or after hours call DPH/DDPHE Duty Officer at 720-460-1706.

COVID-19 Case Data

What are coronaviruses?

Coronavirus refers to a family of viruses that have a crown-like ("corona") appearance that cause disease in animals and humans. In humans, coronaviruses cause respiratory tract infections that are typically mild, like the common cold. Some coronaviruses seem more severe, including severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

What are the symptoms?

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported, ranging from mild to severe; and sometimes death. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. According to the CDC, people with the below symptoms, or combination of symptoms, may have COVID-19:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of these symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

Children's symptoms are similar to adults and they generally have mild illness. Please note that this list is not all inclusive. Be sure to consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

Do you have symptoms of COVID-19?

Share your symptoms to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in Colorado and get connected to resources to help you manage your symptoms by filling out the Colorado COVID Symptom Support survey. For more information, please see CDPHE’s COVID-19 FAQ page.

If you become ill with fever and/or respiratory symptoms such as a cough or shortness of breath, and are able to manage these symptoms at home, please remain there and practice social distancing and self-care. Please see the table below about recommendations for returning to work if you have possibly been ill with COVID-19. However, do seek medical care if it is a medical emergency. As a reminder, only visit the emergency room in life threatening situations, and be sure to call ahead with your symptoms before going to see a doctor or visiting the emergency room.

Returning to Work/Leaving Isolation

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and Denver Public Health does not have, and cannot provide you with, a letter clearing you to go back to work. If you had symptoms consistent with COVID-19, you should isolate yourself for 10 days after symptoms started, and continue isolating yourself until you are fever-free (without the use of fever-reducing medications) for 3 days. Public health is not requiring people to have a negative test to return to work. If your employer is requiring this, you may want to contact your doctor, or another health care provider, or direct your employer to this website.

Isolation Lift and Return to Work Requirements*

  • Resolution of fever (without the use of fever-reducing medications) and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g. cough, shortness of breath) for at least 3 days (72 hours); AND
  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared (or since the date of your first positive COVID-19 diagnostic test if asymptomatic.)

*Health care workers may default to their facility’s return to work requirements, which may mean returning to work sooner than the minimum 10 days if additional precautions are taken. Please discuss with your infection prevention and occupational health offices.

How is it spread? (what we understand so far)

  • Mainly person-to-person through respiratory droplets.
  • May also spread through contact with contaminated surfaces (and then you touch your eyes, mouth, face).
  • Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.

Who is at risk for getting COVID-19?

  • Anyone
  • Most (about 80%) persons infected have mild symptoms.
  • Persons who are older, with weaker immune symptoms may have a higher risk of experiencing severe symptoms, including pneumonia or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
  • Severe cases have the potential to cause death (but again this is a very small proportion).

What are we doing?

Currently, Denver Public Health and Denver Health are working with local and state partners to ensure accurate information is provided to the public, healthcare and other service providers. We have extensive protocols for identifying, responding to, and isolating confirmed and possible COVID-19 cases within Denver to reduce our risk of a local outbreak.

Denver Public Health is also working with community partners to ensure that social distancing measures implemented at the state and local level are being followed appropriately.

What can you do to prevent COVID-19?

Denver Public Health continues to encourage people to follow the same guidance we all know for reducing your risk of getting any respiratory virus, like the flu and colds each year:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Practice social distancing.
  • Follow state public health orders, and your local public health orders, related to COVID-19.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home (especially when you are sick).
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Get your annual flu shot.

Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?

  • There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection.
  • Influenza (Flu) Vaccine: Throughout the U.S. more than 100,000 people got sick with the flu in 2019-2020, and more than 10,000 died. It’s important to remember that while COVID-19 is a concern right now, widespread season flu activity happens all around the U.S. While the flu vaccine will not prevent COVID-19, it will help protect you from the flu. Everyone six months or older should the flu shot every year to stay healthy. Protect yourself and your loved ones - visit DenverPublicHealth.org/Flu for more information about the flu, including where to get vaccinated in Denver.

What about masks?

Coronavirus Disinfection

If I start having respiratory symptoms should I go to the doctor?

  • If you are having mild symptoms, it is recommended that you stay home from work or school, avoid close contact with others, limit going out in public, and monitor your symptoms.
  • It is not recommended that you go to the doctor with mild symptoms.
  • If your symptoms become worse, please call the doctor in advance and notify someone as soon as you arrive to avoid the possibility you may spread illness to others.
  • As a reminder, only visit the emergency room in life threatening situations, and be sure to call ahead with your symptoms before going to see a doctor or visiting the emergency room.

What is the treatment for COVID-19?

  • There is no specific treatment for COVID-19, and antibiotics will not help with a viral disease. The treatment is supportive care for the symptoms. At home, this would include typical over the counter remedies for respiratory symptoms and fever.
  • If the disease becomes severe and you require hospitalization, treatment would include support for vital functions.
  • Do not use non-pharmaceutical chloroquine phosphate to treat or prevent COVID-19; it can cause serious illness, including death.

Where can I go to be tested?

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, first CALL a health care provider, clinic, or hospital. The provider will give you instructions on whether you need to be tested and on where to go to for care and testing. If instructed to seek care, follow the precautionary advice of the medical provider BEFORE going into any health facility.

COVID-19 Serological Testing Guidance for Labs and LPHA

CDPHE and DPH recommend against the use of serological assays for any purpose other than research or convalescent plasma donation. There have been no point-of-care serology tests that have been FDA approved, so until there is a better understanding of protective immunity, results from serology should not be used to make staffing or other descisions to control the spread of COVID-19.

Contact Tracing

Contact tracing involves obtaining contact information for people who may have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 while that person was infectious (able to spread the virus). Health departments will call someone to notify them of their potential exposure as well as to confirm some personal information and provide education and direction to resources. We will never ask for financial information or your social security number. We also cannot provide the name or any specific information about the COVID-19 patient we received someone’s contact information from due to legal privacy laws (HIPAA). As social distancing measures, such as stay-at-home orders are relaxed and more businesses reopen, contact tracing becomes a vital part in help reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in our community.