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A Weld County man in his 70s has died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

The Weld County Department of Public and Health and Environment announced the death and a sixth case of the virus in the county, involving a woman in her 50s, Tuesday afternoon in a news release.

“Protecting our high-risk populations from COVID-19 is imperative,” Dr. Mark Wallace, executive director of the health department, said in a news release. “We are strongly suggesting people practice social distancing in order to prevent future COVID-19 deaths and protect our workforce. Every single reduction in the number of contacts you have per day will have a significant impact on the virus’s spread.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has described the new coronavirus as “10 times” more lethal than the seasonal flu.

The person who died was among the five cases announced before today. He was the second person to die from COVID-19 so far in Colorado. State health officials announced on Friday the state’s first death, which involved a woman in her 80s with underlying health conditions who lived in El Paso County.

The department expects to see an increase in positive test results over the next few days as the state works through a backlog and informs local health departments of the results, the release states.

Help stop the spread

The Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment offered the following ideas to help with social distancing, which requires that people stay at least 6 feet away from each other:

  • Use a grocery delivery or pick-up service;
  • Use meal delivery services. Order your food to-go from local restaurants;
  • Limit all nonessential travel;
  • Go outdoors for fresh air and exercise. The point is not to remain indoors, but to avoid being in close contact with people;
  • Stay connected with friends and family on social media, through chat, by phone and by video.

The department continued on in the release to stress the importance of social distancing, meaning people keep at least 6 feet away from others and not attend social or recreational events of 10 people or more, such as sporting events, concerts, parades, places of worship, ice rinks, recreation centers or libraries.

On Monday, the department issued a pandemic health emergency and a public health order requiring social distancing and canceling most events of 10 or more people. In the past two days, Greeley, Evans and Windsor officials declared local disaster emergencies. Non-emergency government buildings in Greeley and Evans have been closed.

Gov. Jared Polis on Monday ordered bars and restaurants to cease dine-in service and for large gathering spaces such as theaters, casinos and gyms to close. The order lasts 30 days.

— Trevor Reid covers public safety issues for the Greeley Tribune. Connect with Trevor at (970) 392-4492, or on Twitter, @treid71.

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