Pitkin tests results aren’t worth the wait

With all the noise around testing Ms. Owens, I fear the real testing issues for our community, which impact our lives and livelihood, have been missed by one and all.

My high school daughter returned from an excellent ex ed Sept. 2, tired and wet and happy. A couple of days later she got a sore throat. No fever, no loss of smell, etc. She went to school on the seventh and fell asleep in her afternoon class. Her teacher sent her to the nurse; the nurse called me to remove her from school and get her a PCR test.

I picked her up at 3 p.m., asking where I could get her tested. The nurse said the private testing center in town for $425, the hospital (but only after getting a doctor’s order), or the two free “Pitkin” sites at the airport or alley; except the Pitkin sites close at 11:30 a.m. Using my basic math skills, I calculated the cost of testing two high school kids every time they had a runny nose or fell asleep in class. We elected to go to the airport first thing on Wednesday. At 9 a.m., my daughter provided a nasal and saliva sample. Then we waited. The following Monday morning, we called Pitkin health trying to figure out the progress of test results. We were told they didn’t have visibility, control, or answers because they aren’t really Pitkin sites. We finally received a single negative test result at noon on Monday. That is six days (four missed days of school). We were told to get a test on the seventh and didn’t get a result until the 13th.

Those are the facts of our testing experience.

Are testing results that are measured in days a useful tool to fight COVID-19? How damaging to education is missing four days of school with a sore throat? Fighting COVID-19 rests on three prongs: testing, vaxxing and masking. I am confident that no medical professional would suggest that a six-day turnaround is a useful tool to fight delta. Covid doesn’t take weekends off. While our town leaders debate parking and Pandora’s, shouldn’t they be focusing on the pandemic? Testing results measured in hours, not days, should be our goal. Ms Lee has figured out how to do it privately, why not Pitkin?

Dan Goldman

Snowmass Village