WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. (CBS4)– Gov. Jared Polis showed how easy it is to get tested for coronavirus on Monday. During a news conference for an update on COVID-19 in Colorado, Polis got tested. A worker wearing a face shield, n95 mask and protective gown put a swab up Polis’ nose, causing him to wince just a bit. The test was over in seconds.
“Getting tested is a real important part of our process of making progress against this virus,” Polis said.
Polis was giving the update at STRIDE Community Health Center in Wheat Ridge.
He said Colorado has enough testing equipment now for any residents with flu-like symptoms plus workers who have frequent contact with others in public settings but feel healthy. There are 32 free testing sites in Colorado.
The change in testing policy is happening because the state can now process about 10,000 coronavirus tests daily but is not using its full capacity, Polis said.
Previously, a lack of testing supplies and protective equipment limited testing mostly to people in hospitals and health care workers. People with less serious symptoms were told to isolate at home.
Workers who can get the testing even though they feel healthy would include those with jobs such as health care workers and first responders and others deemed essential workers, Polis said.
People who want the free tests can contact their doctors or visit one of 30 community testing sites around the state.
National Guard members have been helping state officials perform repeated tests of people in nursing homes to identify infected people, including those who are not symptomatic, in an an attempt to prevent further outbreaks.
STRIDE has performed about 10,000 swab tests since early March with about 21 percent of them coming back positive, said Dr. Savita Ginde, the company’s chief healthcare officer, said.
The company has conducted about 2,000 blood tests that detect antibodies that develop in people who currently or previously had COVID-19. About 9 percent of those tests have been positive, she said.
Polis said the nasal swab test is more accurate than a rapid test he received while visiting the White House last week. Swab test results are usually known with a day or two, he said.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)