Colorado state lab now able to test for coronavirus
The state laboratory at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is now equipped to test for cases of coronavirus, according to state officials.
Before now, testing for COVID-19 had been conducted only by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With new capacities for testing at the state level, officials are hoping to be more nimble in responding to and controlling the disease if it is found in Colorado.
With current staffing and equipment resources, the state lab has the capacity to test as many as 160 samples per day with results coming back within 24 hours. The test will be used only for people who meet the criteria for COVID-19 testing and won’t be available to the general public.
In Colorado, there are three circumstances where public health departments could determine that a patient needs to be tested:
- If a person has a fever or signs of lower respiratory illness and has been in close contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19 within 14 days of when symptoms started
- If a person has a fever and signs of lower respiratory illness and recently traveled to parts of the world with high infection rates within 14 days of noticeable symptoms
- If a person has a fever with severe lower respiratory illness that requires hospitalization and other diagnoses such as influenza have already been ruled out
If a medial provider believes their patient might have the illness, they’ll make contact with a state or local public health department for further instructions on testing. If a person does need to be tested, the medical provider will collect a sample from the patient’s nose and throat to be sent to the state lab.
Colorado doesn’t currently have any known cases of COVID-19. For more information, resident’s can reach out to Colorado’s novel coronavirus hotline at 303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911. Residents also can reach out to cohelp@RMPDC.org or visit the state’s public health web page.