Pitkin County testing plan for COVID-19 should be set by Friday
Pitkin County public health officials announced Tuesday they will use a mobile command center trailer to test 1,000 county residents and determine if they’ve had COVID-19, according to a news release.
However, further details about the effort — including when and where — have not yet been worked out, the release states. Pitkin County Manager Jon Peacock told commissioners Tuesday that the plan should be finalized by Friday.
Pitkin County was able to secure 1,000 rapid response tests manufactured by an Englewood company called Aytu Bioscience and is determining exactly how to use them. The tests, which measure COVID-19 antibodies in the blood, will be given to people who have had symptoms of the virus and those in particular groups like essential workers, an official has said.
“We are taking a measured approach getting testing out,” said Gabe Muething, Aspen Ambulance director and one of the leaders of the team managing the local response to the outbreak. “Not all community attempts at testing have been successful and we are committed to carefully rolling out our testing program.”
Bill Linn, a spokesman for the management team, said Tuesday that officials are working with doctors at Aspen Valley Hospital, which also received a smaller number of the same tests, to make sure the Aytu tests work as advertised. For example, they are testing patients who they know have had COVID-19, he said.
Officials have said the tests will provide information about the depth of the infection in Pitkin County, which will be valuable in determining how to unwind the stay-at-home public health orders.
As of Monday, Pitkin County had 49 positive COVID-19 cases, according to the Colorado Department of Health and Environment website. Pitkin County’s Public Health website, however, reported 34 positive cases.
Muething and Peacock both said the state is counting “presumptive positive cases” of people who developed virus symptoms after contact with people known to have tested positive for COVID-19. Officials are working on reconciling the two statistics, Peacock said Tuesday.
Meanwhile the state reported 7,941 cases as of Monday and 329 deaths.
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