Polis: Any Coloradan With Coronavirus Symptoms Should Get Tested

Andrew Kenney/CPR News
Gov. Jared Polis delivers an update on the state response to the coronavirus from the STRIDE Community Health Center in Wheat Ridge, Colo., May 18, 2020.

Updated 12:10 p.m.

Coloradans with COVID-19 symptoms can now get tested for the disease, Gov. Jared Polis announced today at STRIDE Community Health Center - Jeffco Family Health Services Center, in Wheat Ridge.

Previously, tests were reserved for symptomatic frontline health care workers and other first responders, as well as those who deal with the public, work in nursing homes or require hospitalization.

“We have enough tests to test everybody who is symptomatic,” he said.

Polis said that testing is free whether a person has insurance or not. There is no copay or out-of-pocket fee, no matter what kind of insurance someone has. If a person does not want to be tested but has symptoms, he recommended that those people can self-isolate at home for five to six days after they stop showing symptoms before going out. The main symptoms to watch for are fever, dry cough, shortness of breath and the loss of taste or smell. 

To prove how easy and accessible it is to get tested, Polis was tested during the press briefing. He received a nasal swab. Most results come back between one to two days.

Andrew Kenney/CPR News

STRIDE, which conducted the governor’s test, has completed roughly 10,000 swab tests. Roughly one in five have come back positive, a high rate that indicates they are likely still testing those most likely to have the disease. The center has also done 2,000 serology tests, which look for the presence of chemicals the body produces to fight the virus.

Community testing centers, as well as hospitals and other sources, provide testing for the public. The Colorado National Guard is also conducting testing in senior facilities.

He said he wants Colorado to do about 8,500 to 10,000 tests a day. He said that between the state lab and the state’s partners, they can process 10,000 tests a day. Polis has said previously that the state aims to conduct 5,000 daily tests by early May and 10,000 tests by the end of the month. The state has averaged about 3,8000 tests a day by Mid-May.

If you want to get tested, there are 32 community testing sites. For information on where to get tested, visit the state's map of testing sites.

Polis also said that a draft restaurant guidance will be released in the next several days. He encouraged restaurants to add more outdoor seating. He said outdoor seating on sidewalks, parking lots, and streets is a way for restaurants to be able to get to 100 percent capacity while also staying safe.