By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4) — The percentage of COVID tests that turn out positive is on the rise in Colorado. Forty percent of the PCR tests conducted in the state are done at Summit Biolabs, adjacent to the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Complex.

Omicron or B.1.1.529 Coronavirus the new variant of concern by WHO.

Brandon Lamberson said the samples collected at COVID Check sites throughout the state are processed here.

“All of our samples are transferred into these plates and we add our treatment to these samples.”

(credit: CBS)

Here, those specimens taken from the nostrils and saliva are treated to kill the virus. That is so when the samples are tested, the virus is no longer infectious.

Dr. Brian Harry is the chief laboratory officer at Summit Biolabs.

“We had a big spike about two weeks ago, where these samples increased by about 20%.”

About 20,000 samples a week are tested here. The percentage that turn out positive is now around 10% — just above the state average. It is called the positivity rate.

Laberson showed off a row of testing machines.

“These instruments will give us the results of positive or negative.”

On the computer, the positives make their potentially deadly presence known. Each is traceable to the person who was tested.

Dr. Harry feels the future is uncertain.

“The big challenge for us, and others, that do COVID testing is what is it going to look like in a week or in a month.”

Summit Biolabs are preparing to expand with winter coming and the omicron variant arriving. They do not determine which variant provided the positive results, the positive samples are sent to the state for that.

Rick Sallinger