Governor Jared Polis announced yesterday that Colorado now has the supplies, testing sites, and capacity to test anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19, as well as all health care workers, all senior care facility workers, all first responders, and all essential workers who directly interact with the public while working, whether they have symptoms or not.
“Any individual who fits into these categories is encouraged to get tested,” Polis’ announcement said.
HOW TO GET TESTED
Anyone who isn’t a health care worker, senior care facility worker, essential worker, or first responder still must have symptoms of COVID-19 to get tested.
Primary symptoms of COVID-19 include:
• dry cough
• shortness of breath
Polis’ announcement says this shouldn’t be confused with a common cold, where the primary symptoms include:
• stuffy or runny nose
• sore throat
For more on symptoms, visit covid19.colorado.gov/covid19-symptoms.
Next, consult a primary care physician, family doctor or medical clinic for a diagnosis. There are also options to get a diagnosis using telehealth. For more information on telehealth, visit: covid19.colorado.gov/covid-19-in-colorado/about-covid-19/telehealth-and-nurselines.
Third, find a testing facility in your area. Your medical provider should be able to help you find a testing site, or you can find a community-based testing site in your area using this map on the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment COVID-19 site.
According to CDPHE, the map shows only operational community testing sites that have had their plans approved by and received testing supplies from the state of Colorado. It is not a comprehensive map of all testing sites in Colorado.
There are four kinds of testing facilities.
- Private health care providers (for example UCHealth, National Jewish, Children’s, Centura, Denver Health, Kaiser, as well as federally qualified health centers like Stride). Consult your health care provider for more information.
- Community based testing sites, where the state works with local communities to provide testing.
- Specialized testing sites at high-risk facilities like senior care facilities, other congregate care facilities, and some workplaces.
- Private sector partners outside of traditional health care, like Kroger grocery stores, Walmart and others.
TESTING IS FREE
Polis’ announcement states: “Whether a person is on Medicaid, Medicare, private insurance or has no health insurance at all, cost is not a barrier to testing in Colorado.
“Thanks to executive action taken by the Polis administration, Colorado-regulated insurance plans are prohibited from charging copays for testing, and Medicaid patients can also get tested without cost. For those without insurance, community testing sites can send samples to the state lab and the state will cover the cost.
“Also, because of executive action taken by the Polis administration, Coloradans should not worry about their job status if they test positive. Most Colorado businesses are now required to provide paid leave for those who test positive, so you can worry about getting better instead of worrying about making ends meet.
“It’s not just a question of basic fairness — if Coloradans can’t afford the test and can’t afford to take off work if they get sick, they might not get tested, and that will put all of us at greater risk.”
TESTING IS IMPORTANT
Expanding testing is a key factor for success in the Safer-at-Home phase, along with maintaining social distancing and wearing masks, staying at home whenever possible, and protecting the most vulnerable populations — older Coloradans and those with underlying health conditions.
“Testing is extremely important for a number of reasons,” the announcement states.
“Patients need to know whether they have COVID-19 so they can seek treatment, isolate themselves for 14 days, and inform others they may have come into contact with. Expanded testing will help to prevent further spread of coronavirus, especially by individuals who may not know they have been infected.
“Furthermore, as we begin to relax restrictions on our economy and society, testing will provide public health experts and policymakers with crucial information about how the virus is spreading in our communities so that we can adjust our response accordingly.”