COLORADO SPRINGS — Gov. Jared Polis announced during a Thursday afternoon briefing that the state is expanding its testing infrastructure to lower the turnaround time for COVID-19 test results.
Polis said two weeks ago the average turnaround time for COVID-19 test results was one to two days. Recently, the governor said there were reports of results being returned in up to 10 to 12 days. With over 10,000 tests being administered each day, he said the state is expanding its testing infrastructure.
"Colorado is working hard to secure our own testing supplies [and] extending our own testing lab capacity," he said.
Polis said in order to achieve an increase in testing capacity, there needed to be agreements in place to "diversify our lab capacity" because there is a backlog in national testing. He said the state is working on in-state lab partners with Children's Hospital and National Jewish as well as partnering with local private labs and international labs. There have been 300,000 swab kits ordered by the state through suppliers in the U.S.
One part of the state's response to COVID-19 is contact tracing. Polis said the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has 115 full-time local public health workers who are conducting contact tracing in the state.
"The fate of our state is in your hands," he said. Polis also said it is up to the actions of Coloradans that will determine the direction that the state heads.
He said as students and teachers return to school, it will not be unexpected to see an outbreak. But, he said this is why it is important to keep students in cohorts and keep it isolated within that grouping.
The conference follows Polis announcing an earlier last call time for alcohol in public places to help suppress the spread of the virus. Starting today, this order is now in effect for 30 days with last call for alcohol at 10 p.m. He said the next hope is to extend the late call to midnight if this proves to be successful.
The governor’s ban on alcohol sales past 10 p.m. at restaurants and bars that function as restaurants does not prevent those establishments from operating past 10 p.m. However, they can’t serve alcohol past that time.
Polis did not say whether retail sales of alcohol would be affected by this order. According to the governor, the goal is to reduce irresponsible behavior that can spread the virus.