Centennial City Councilmember Kathy Turley and one of her colleagues on council tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by a widespread coronavirus, sending at least some of their fellow councilmembers — and family members — into quarantine. Both councilmembers have since recovered.
Turley and her colleague — who requested that their name not be used out of concern for family safety — attended the National League of Cities' annual Congressional City Conference in Washington, D.C., in early March. The NLC is a “resource and advocate” for cities and their leaders, its website says. Turley's colleague isn't sure if they were exposed to the virus in D.C. or in Colorado.
The NLC said in an announcement it learned March 17 that two attendees tested positive for COVID-19. Turley's colleague said they were the two attendees the NLC referred to.
Turley eventually had flu-like symptoms and shortness of breath, and she got tested for COVID-19 in Lone Tree through Kaiser Permanente on March 12, she said.
She spoke with Tri-County Health Department, the health agency for Arapahoe, Adams and Douglas counties, which works to stop the spread of COVID-19 when it is detected.
“This epidemiologist spent over an hour with me,” backtracking through all her steps and contacts, Turley said. “The real story is how Tri-County Health was able to save many lives through that one exercise.”
Turley's husband and son went into quarantine and were to be out on March 31, and she spent 10 days in isolation in her bedroom. Turley had to sign a document from Tri-County stating she was going into isolation, she said.
Her symptoms subsided March 20, and she came out of isolation — she had lost her sense of smell and taste along the way, she said.
Turley's colleague on council confirmed that they also tested positive for COVID-19.
The colleague recovered, came out of isolation and had only experienced minor symptoms. The colleague was among those who waited for hours in the state's drive-up COVID-19 test site in the Lowry area of Denver earlier in March. Their spouse was still quarantined as of March 27.
City council has met remotely the week of March 16 and March 23 amid the spread of COVID-19, the colleague said.
Four other members of council attended the D.C. conference with Turley and her colleague, and Tri-County contacted those four as well, Turley said. The four were instructed to quarantine, along with anyone else who had contact with Turley and her colleague.
“The city implemented all the proper protocols by contacting those the infected person had contact with and self-quarantined,” said Allison Wittern, city spokeswoman.
Castle Rock Mayor Jason Gray self-quarantined in March as well. He didn't know the individuals with COVID-19 he possibly had contact with, only that they also attended the National League of Cities' conference.
Littleton City Councilmembers Scott Melin and Pam Grove both self-quarantined after coming into contact with two attendees who later tested positive for COVID-19 at the National League of Cities conference.
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