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COVID-19 testing

By Pam Zubeck

Within a day of opening a communitywide COVID-19 testing site this week at The Citadel mall, state and local health authorities are warning that some tests might have been spoiled due to inconsistent temperature control.

In a release, the Colorado State Emergency Operations Center said an Aug. 12 inspection of the testing site by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment was triggered by an alert from El Paso County Public Health of possible temperature control inconsistencies of testing samples.

“The state provided guidance on a series of quick corrections to ensure effective operating procedures,” the release said. The site is being run by contractor Mako Medical, which has made corrections, after which authorities have “full confidence in the site procedures going forward.”

Mako Medical collected more than 300 samples on the initial day of operations, Aug. 11. The contractor is testing those samples to determine if temperature affected their quality.

But Public Health and CDPHE, “out of an abundance of caution,” are asking that everyone who was tested on that day return for retesting. Individuals who were tested on Tuesday will be contacted directly via telephone. Also, starting Thursday, Aug. 13, officials will field calls from those who were tested to answer questions. The number is 303-256-2881.

In an earlier release, health officials urged those experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, first responders, health care workers, critical infrastructure employees, teachers and individuals who work in congregate settings to be tested.

The tests are free and are administered to anyone who feels the need to be tested, if they’re older than 2. No insurance referral is required, and resources are available on-site for Spanish-speakers.

Pre-registration is recommended but not required. To pre-register, go here. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Be aware, the city has a major construction project underway in The Citadel’s vicinity. From a previous release:

“A full intersection closure at Chelton Avenue and Santa Rosa Street near the southeast entrance to [The Citadel mall] will be in place beginning, today, Monday, July 27 for six to eight weeks, weather and resource dependent. Travelers should avoid the area and use alternate routes as advised. Access to [The Citadel mall] will remain open at entrances off Galley Road and Academy Boulevard. Neighborhood access to the surrounding area will remain open with detour routes clearly marked.

“During the closure, crews will finish installation of underground stormwater infrastructure and make traffic and roadway improvements to the intersection. This project began as a City Stormwater project to address significant flooding in the area, but evolved into a larger collaborative project with Colorado Springs Utilities and City Traffic Engineering to both reduce persistent flooding and improve aging infrastructure.”