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Larimer County, CO --- Larimer County Department of Health and Environment (LCDHE) is taking action to improve COVID-19 test result turnaround time for Larimer County residents. In coordination with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, LCDHE COVID-19 test specimens are now being sent directly to a laboratory with the capacity to return results within 48 hours of receiving them. 

Each week, the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment has the capacity to test up to 1,000 people for COVID-19 at free community testing locations in Fort Collins and Loveland. In July, significant delays in receiving test results began creating difficulties for LCDHE to conduct the case investigation and contact tracing essential for slowing the spread of COVID-19. With a delay in test results of more than three days, the widespread transmission of COVID-19 is more likely to occur.  Widespread community transmission of COVID-19 would also jeopardize Larimer County’s COVID-19 variance, further impacting local businesses and schools. 

“In Larimer County, we have built the capacity to collect specimens and conduct contact tracing at a large scale. However, receiving timely test results has been the missing piece of the puzzle,” says Tom Gonzales, Public Health Director for Larimer County. “Contact tracing is one of the best tools for fighting COVID-19, but for it to be effective, it is imperative that we receive test results within 48 hours.” 

LCDHE is currently working with a Colorado State University laboratory to establish a long-term solution for receiving local test results quickly. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has coordinated with LCDHE to implement a temporary (fill-gap) solution.

Beginning this week, all test specimens collected from LCDHE’s free community testing sites will be sent to Unipath, a private clinical laboratory CDPHE has contracted with for overflow testing, as a fill-gap solution until the CSU clinical lab has been expanded.  Unipath has agreed to a 48-hour turnaround time, and this temporary arrangement will remain in place until the local laboratory is ready. 

COVID-19 testing in Larimer County is also available through UCHealth, Banner Health, Salud Family Health Centers in Estes Park and Fort Collins, and Kaiser Permanente. Please contact your provider for testing days and times.

Information about COVID-19 is constantly changing, and the public health response adjusts as more is learned about this virus. While there is plenty of news and media information available, LCDHE is encouraging Larimer County residents to view the latest credible information on COVID-19 at www.larimer.org/coronavirus  or www.CDC.gov/coronavirus. Additionally, residents are encouraged to follow LCDHE’s Facebook and Twitter accounts at @LarimerHealth.

 

Published on: 
Wednesday, September 2, 2020 - 4:24pm
Contact Details: 

Katie O'Donnell
970-646-1756
kodonnell@larimer.org

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