COLORADO SPRINGS — Update: Thursday, March 19 7:55 p.m.
UCHealth is suspending the drive-thru testing sites for COVID-19 at the South Parkside Drive and KidsKare Point locations in Colorado Springs. A release states, "testing supplies must be reserved for patients who are seriously ill and hospitalized. It is also essential to have enough tests for health care workers, should they require testing."
A drive-up sample collection center, (SCC) is open for COVID-19 testing in Colorado Springs and a doctor's order is needed to be tested.
UCHealth's site at South Parkside Drive and Kidskare Point is just one block east of Memorial Park. Samples will be taken from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekdays only starting today.
“It’s important to understand that this site is for people who have met testing criteria, as determined by their provider,” said Dr. David Steinbruner, associate chief medical officer of UCHealth Memorial Hospital. “This effort is a collaboration with the state and county health departments to confirm or rule out COVID-19 cases and reduce transmission of the virus.”
If you are referred for testing by non-UCHealth provider, you will need to bring the form “Assessment of Patients for 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)” filled out by the provider.
Be sure to bring photo identification that matches the information in your doctor's order.
Dr. Steinbruner explained that collecting the samples outside of a hospital or doctors office is intended to keep other patients safe from possible spread of the virus.
"We're helping to protect the really sick people who have come to the emergency department with chest pain, with pneumonia, with broken legs, with appendicitis; we're keeping them from being potentially infected," he said.
Keeping patients in their car is another way to restrict the spread of the virus. It keeps a safe distance between the test subjects and the healthcare workers who are wearing personal protective equipment.
"We want you to stay in your car, and we're actually going to sample you through the window of your car after registering you and making sure all of the follow-up information is accurate," Dr. Steinbruner said. "Then we put all that information from the CDPHE form into the computer and then off you go."
This is not a screening center for the public at large and no doctors are on site. El Paso County Public Health wants everyone to know their facility is not a testing center.
According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, patients with the following may be considered for this testing.
If you believe you may be experiencing symptoms related to coronavirus (COVID-19), there are steps you should take to self evaluate and follow-up with your health care provider. We've detailed the steps in this article: Think you may have the coronavirus? Here’s what to do
The state's first drive-up facility opened in Denver on Wednesday and attracted many people to the area to be tested. Wait times for the facility were three to four hours long on Thursday as cars lined up.
The Colorado Department of Public Health announced four additional presumptive positive cases Thursday evening, raising the total number of cases statewide to 49. The total includes one case the state called "indeterminate" that is being treated as a presumptive positive.
The four new cases all come from Eagle County, including a man in his 20s, two women both in their 30s, and a man in his 80s. The state is awning verification from the Centers for Disease Control.
Though the state says it hopes to expand criteria to anyone with flu-like symptoms, current criteria include:
· People have fever or symptoms of a lower respiratory illness and have been in contact with someone confirmed to have the virus within 14 days of the onset of symptoms.
· People have fever or symptoms of a lower respiratory illness, have had other diagnoses ruled out, and recently traveled to an area with high infection rates within 14 days of becoming symptomatic.
· People have a severe acute respiratory illness, such as pneumonia, that requires hospitalization and has no other explained diagnosis.