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Coronavirus in Colorado: What to know about the main testing options

Coronavirus in Colorado: What to know about the main testing options
Posted at 8:41 PM, Jun 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-30 14:27:42-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — It was a steady flow of cars Monday afternoon at Peak Vista's drive-thru testing site. Visitors were asked to fill out a demographic form prior to testing and present a form of ID and insurance.

Pam McManus, President and CEO of Peak Vista Community Health Centers, says it's a very simple process. "It just takes a few minutes. It's a swab in the nasal area and the paperwork can actually take longer than the test," said McManus.

Patients who have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 based on the CDC website and El Paso County Health Department guidelines can seek testing at the Peak Vista Risk Assessment Center or one of their primary care locations conducting testing. No appointment or referral is required for testing.

McManus says they usually receive results within 24 and 48 hours. "At that time a provider will call the individual and give them the results. They'll also talk about symptoms and if they've declined because if the test is negative but they were experiencing symptoms, it's good to have follow-up care," said McManus.

While there are multiple tests for COVID-19, including rapid testing, Peak Vista says they are only using nasal swab testing right now.

"Initially when the rapid testing came out, it was reserved more so for hospital entities and such due to the limited number of rapid tests that were available. At this time, Peak Vista has just continued with the nasal swab testing and we haven't evaluated for the rapid testing yet," said Lisa Ramey, Chief and Dental Officer for Peak Vista Community Health Centers.

UCHealth Memorial also offers the nasal swab test along with the antibody test. Staff says with the amount of tests out there, they're making sure to use the best tests possible for their patients.

"There are so many tests out there and there continues to be tests that are not so great out there. That could generate a lot of false positives and false negatives so UCHealth is using only high quality testing and its something that labatorians have to monitor," said Robert Welch, Director of Laboratory Services for UCHealth Memorial.

Welch says the hospital does have rapid testing, but it's reserved for critically ill patients and emergency department admissions. He says all of the rapid testing is on allocation from the government, as the White House Coronavirus Task Force decides on who gets it and how many.

"We get a limited number of those. We have a testing algorithm in place that limits the utilization of those so we have enough to sustain us," said Welch.

UCHealth Memorial does accept walk-ups if patients are symptomatic. For those wanting to get tested but not showing symptoms, they can go through their app "My Health Connection" to schedule an appointment to get tested for the virus.

To date, UCHealth Memorial says they've conducted 68,636 tests for COVID-19 statewide. Health officials say testing has been in high demand.

"UCHealth tests all their admits, we test everyone who's coming in for a procedure or surgery. Testing demands have actually never been higher, we're running more now than the peak of the pandemic," said Welch.

Both hospitals say it's important to get tested, especially now with more businesses reopening.

Hours for the laboratory tents at UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central and Memorial Hospital North are: 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Other locations where patients can receive indoor lab services are:

  • UCHealth Laboratory – Printers Park, 175 S. Union Blvd., 6 a.m.- 5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday; Saturdays: 7 a.m.- noon
  • UCHealth Laboratory – Briargate, 8890 N. Union Blvd., 7 a.m.- 4 p.m. Monday-Friday; Saturdays: 7 a.m.- noon
  • UCHealth Laboratory – Pikes Peak Regional Hospital, 16420 W. US Highway 24, Woodland Park, 7 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday

The testing site for Peak Vista is located at Peak Vista’s Academy Campus – 3205 N Academy Blvd. Testing is available Monday- Friday from 10 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. in the south parking lot.