With coronavirus causing an unprecedented national shutdown and spreading throughout the globe, you may be wondering were you can get tested if you live in Colorado.
There is a Denver, Colorado coronavirus testing center, but it’s been overwhelmed and turning a lot of people away. It’s a drive-thru testing center. The state is now urging private testing. As of March 14, 2020, there were 101 presumptive positive cases of coronavirus reported in Colorado, according to a state news release.
On March 13, 2020, The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said that it would reopen its drive-up coronavirus testing site on Saturday, March 14, 2020 at the Denver Coliseum. There was previously a Denver testing center at Lowry but it was swamped with too many people showing up, according to Fox 31.
However, on March 14, only 200 people were served at the testing center, and it closed because of overwhelming demand. “Due to high-volume, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has closed the drive-up testing site at the Denver Coliseum for the rest of the day today, Saturday, March 14. The line was cut off at 200 cars today,” the state announced in a news release on March 14, 2020.
When will it open again? When can you be tested?
“CDPHE will post next week’s schedule and locations on its website when they are available,” the state advised, as of March 15, 2020. This is the website link where the state will post the hours and locations when they are released.
It’s not a guarantee you will be tested, though. You have to meet certain criteria. They’re not testing absolutely everyone who asks.
Here’s what you need to know:
The State Is Urging People to Try Private Testing
The state Department of Public Health and Environment initially provided this information about the Denver testing center for coronavirus (COVID-19):
“State Laboratory Drive-Up Testing Center
Open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on March 14, 2020.
Located at Denver Coliseum, 4600 Humboldt St, Denver, CO, 80216
Will serve the first 100-150 vehicles in line. All other vehicles that arrive after that will be encouraged to seek testing from a private provider.
Always call ahead and speak with the health care facility before going there for testing or treatment.
Other days and hours will be posted on this page.
People who come to be tested at the state laboratory testing site must bring:
An order from their health care provider (written or electronic) confirming they meet the testing criteria and need to be tested.
Photo identification that matches the name on the provider’s order.
Undocumented individuals can use any photo ID; it does not have to be government-issued.
More information about testing at the state laboratory testing site
Testing is free. Proof of insurance is not required.
Anyone who is uninsured and doesn’t have a doctor’s referral will be directed to a nurse or epidemiologist on-site to be assessed. If the person does not meet the criteria to be tested, they will not be tested.
If there are multiple people in one vehicle, each person must have their own doctor’s order.
If you are having a medical emergency, call 911. Do not report to a testing site or wait at a testing site. Testing sites are not emergency care facilities. Call 911 and tell the dispatcher about your symptoms.
Individuals will drive through a secured area and will remain in their vehicles throughout the entire testing process.
For the safety of everyone, hours of operation will be contingent upon safe weather, and the testing site may have to close.
Be prepared for long wait times. No restrooms will be available.
Bring water and other items to be comfortable while waiting.
Even though we highly discourage it, members of the media may be present. State health department staff are working with the media to protect patient privacy.
Telephonic interpretation will be available for speakers of other languages.
If you were tested at the state lab testing center, the lab will contact you with your test results. While waiting for test results, please stay at home. People who test positive ts may be issued isolation orders.”
However, on March 14, after the site became overwhelmed by demand, the state shifted its advice to suggest that people contact a private provider for testing, saying, “Because Colorado now has capacity for private labs to conduct testing, CDPHE encourages anyone who has symptoms or believes they may have been exposed to COVID-19 to call or email their physician first for guidance, obtain a doctor’s order for testing, and request information about private providers where you can get tested. Always call first before reporting to a health care facility for testing.”
The state added in the news release:
Any medical provider with a relationship with LabCorp or Quest Diagnostics can test, but be sure to contact your provider ahead of time because many providers have centralized sites for testing due to safety precautions.
People should remember:
If you have a medical emergency, call 911. Do not report to a testing site, as they are not emergency care facilities. If you have severe respiratory symptoms, especially shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, tell the 911 dispatcher about your symptoms. Do not wait for a COVID-19 test to call 911.
If you are ill or suspect that you were exposed, but are not able to be immediately tested, please stay home, self-isolate, and contact a health care provider.
While waiting for their test results, individuals should stay at home. Those who receive positive test results may be issued isolation orders.
The Colorado Division of Insurance is directing carriers to ensure that coverage is provided for COVID-19 testing, in-network provider office visits, in-network urgent care center visits, and an emergency room visit when a covered person is seeking testing for COVID-19 without the requirement that consumers pay co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. Carriers must also cover testing by an out-of-network provider, if they cannot conduct the testing. The division is working on formalizing these directives.
The state also provides this information about COVID-19 testing. “CALL OR EMAIL a health care provider first. If the provider recommends you get testing or care, follow the provider’s advice BEFORE going into any health facility. Ask your provider about private lab sites where you can get tested. DO NOT go to an emergency room to get a test for COVID-19 unless you are having a medical emergency. For COVID-19, that means severe respiratory symptoms such as shortness or breath or breathing difficulties. DO call 911 or go to an emergency room if you are having a medical emergency. Tell the dispatcher your symptoms.”
The state advises, “If you were tested at the state lab testing center, the lab will contact you with your test results. While waiting for test results, please stay at home. People who test positive ts may be issued isolation orders.”
Starting March 16, testing will be prioritized in the following ways: Identify and monitor for community transmission of COVID-19. Investigate outbreaks in health care and residential facilities. Ensure a safe workforce in health care and other facilities serving high-risk populations. Test critically ill patients for whom commercial testing will not provide timely enough results. Testing for uninsured people can be arranged through the state health department.”
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