Health officials in Durango spent Friday testing people for COVID-19 at a mobile testing unit for the first time.
The drive-up test site had about 100 tests to give out and were only testing people who are most at risk for contracting the novel coronavirus — the elderly and people with compromised immune systems.
People needed a doctor's note to get the test. The La Plata County Sheriff's Office had the parking lot barricaded so there was only one entryway at the county's fairgrounds.
By the time officials in masks and protective suits started letting people through the facility at about 12:30 p.m., there were about 15 cars in line.
Liane Jollon, director of San Juan Basin Public Health, says there is a significant shortage of test kits nationally, in Colorado and in La Plata County. Because of the limited number of tests that have been performed, she believes the number of COVID-19 cases in the community has been underreported.
"This first testing opportunity will be limited but will provide us a snapshot of the spread of the disease in our community," she said.
Jollon said restrictions on public life might last a while.
"So when we ask the question, 'How long are we going to be at this?", unfortunately the answer is, 'The better we do at this, the longer we're going to be at it. And we're looking at something we're not measuring in weeks," Jollon said. "And I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the longer we do this, the more lives we save."