The Tri-County Health Department — which serves Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties — announced that it is regularly in contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state’s health agency in case a coronavirus response is necessary.

“At TCHD, we are preparing for potential widespread transmission of COVID-19, even though there are currently no cases in Colorado,” the department said. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, which tracks the number of investigated and confirmed cases of coronavirus, identified 12 negative and four pending cases as of Feb. 26.

Over the weekend, two individuals died from the virus in Washington. The current iteration of the virus, officially named COVID-19, is part of a large family of viruses that includes the common cold. These viruses typically cause mild respiratory illness, although more severe forms in recent years have included severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). Patients with underlying medical problems or who are older are at greater risk.

TCHD said that it has activated its Public Health Incident Management Team, and that while COVID-19 has appeared to reach its peak in China, transmission to other parts of the world is ongoing. Hand washing, flu shots and staying home from work or school if sick are recommended strategies for stopping the spread of any virus.

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