With the death Saturday of a man in his 70s, El Paso County now accounts for half the six coronavirus fatalities in Colorado.

No additional information was released about the third coronavirus death in the county.

“We express our sincere condolences to the family, friends, and loved-ones of the man who passed due to COVID-19 ...” said Susan Wheelan, El Paso County Public Health director, in a statement. “We are doing everything we can to slow the spread of this novel virus, while supporting our community. ... We are strong and we will get through this together.”

Another death was reported in Eagle County, the epicenter of Colorado's coronavirus crisis. The man was in his 60s and had underlying health conditions, an Eagle County Public Health statement said. He died in a Denver-area hospital. 

An additional 112 cases of the virus were reported statewide Saturday, bringing the total number of cases in Colorado to 475. The number of cases in El Paso County rose to 37, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's website

Among those who've tested positive for the flu-like diseases is a Colorado National Guard soldier who is being quarantined at Fort Carson.

The soldier is a man in his 30s who lives in Douglas County, the Colorado National Guard said in a release. Details regarding his exposure are under investigation by the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment.

Gov. Jared Polis has called up about 70 Colorado National Guard members to provide support for the State Emergency Operations Center and Colorado health department at drive-up COVID-19 testing centers in various communities throughout the state.

A Fort Carson statement said Saturday that a the Guardsman is being quarantined at the state National Guard's 168th Regional Training Institute on Fort Carson.

The soldier will remain in isolation, the statement said. 

"We ... will follow risk-based measures consistent with guidance from the Department of Defense and the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)," the statement said. "The soldier is in good spirits and does not require hospitalization at this time."

El Paso County health officials did not say if the man who died Saturday had direct contact with either of the two other people who have died from the coronavirus in the county.

The county's second COVID-19 death was a man in his mid-60s who had direct contact with the first victim, an 83-year-old woman who died last week. The man died Thursday morning at Penrose-St. Francis Health Service, hospital staff said. 

The woman, who was the county's first COVID-19 death, died March 13 at UCHealth Memorial Central Hospital in Colorado Springs. A few weeks before her death, she played cards in several tournaments at a west-side Colorado Springs bridge club, where dozens of seniors were inadvertently exposed

County health officials said they were "extremely concerned" about possible transmission at the tournaments and in other communities after players went home. The elderly, along with those with other health issues and compromised immune systems, are among the most vulnerable to contracting severe coronavirus cases, although state data shows the highest percentages of people in Colorado who tested positive for COVID-19 are in their 30s, 40s and 50s. 

As the number of statewide cases continued to rise, public health officials amended an order to limit most gatherings to 10 or fewer people. They also reminded the public that the 911 emergency line is not to be used for general information about COVID-19. 

"People should call 911 ONLY with a medical emergency," the news release said. "Do not call 911 if you are seeking general medical advice or wish to be tested for COVID-19. If you have COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath), consider a telehealth visit or nurseline advice before seeking in-person care."

MORE

List of Colorado Springs-area stores with closings and adjusted hours.

MAP: A look at cases in Colorado.

Contact Liz Henderson, 719-476-1623

Twitter: @GazetteLiz

Multimedia Journalist

Liz is a multimedia journalist who joined the Gazette staff in 2019.

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