State of Colorado further amplifies COVID-19 response, welcomes 50 new nurses to expand capacity

Monday, March 16, 2020

DENVER, March 16, 2020: The state of Colorado is amplifying support for communities across the state and increasing testing capabilities in mountain communities. Today Colorado welcomed 50 nurses dedicated to help with the state’s COVID-19 response.

These nurses, from the Freedom Health Care Staffing Company, are trained in providing care in crisis situations. They will initially staff testing sites and health care facilities. This effort was made possible from a portion of the $3 million from the Disaster Emergency Fund ordered in Governor Jared Polis’ Executive Order D 2020 003

On Tuesday, March 17, CDPHE will open a testing site outside Telluride in partnership with San Miguel County. This testing site will serve about 100 high-risk patients who have been pre-selected by area health care providers as priority for being tested. The site will not accept walk-up or drive-up patients. 

The state is prioritizing testing in mountain resort communities because of the documented transmission of the disease in these areas with a high number of tourists. Telluride is just the first location for these efforts. Health officials will continue to conduct targeted testing in other communities to make informed decisions about our public health response.

CDPHE is also sending testing kits to other mountain counties to increase testing capacity. CDPHE requested and received additional testing kits from the CDC this week, and these are the resources being distributed statewide.

Because Colorado now has the capacity for private labs to conduct testing, CDPHE encourages anyone who has symptoms or believes they may have been exposed to COVID-19 to call or email their physician first for guidance, obtain a doctor’s order for testing, and request information about private providers where you can get tested. Always call first before reporting to a health care facility for testing. 

Any medical provider with a relationship with LabCorp or Quest Diagnostics can test, but be sure to call your provider ahead of time. Many providers have centralized sites for testing due to safety precautions.

People should remember:

  • If you have a medical emergency, call 911. Do not report to a testing site, as they are not emergency care facilities. If you have severe respiratory symptoms, especially shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, tell the 911 dispatcher about your symptoms. Do not wait for a COVID-19 test to call 911.

  • If you are ill or suspect that you were exposed, but are not able to be immediately tested, please stay home, self-isolate, and contact a health care provider.

  • While waiting for their test results, individuals should stay at home. Those who receive positive test results may be issued isolation orders.

  • The Colorado Division of Insurance is directing carriers to ensure that coverage is provided for COVID-19 testing, in-network provider office visits, in-network urgent care center visits, and an emergency room visit when a covered person is seeking testing for COVID-19 without the requirement that consumers pay co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. Carriers must also cover testing by an out-of-network provider, if they cannot conduct the testing.  The division is working on formalizing these directives.

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