Wait times at Colorado’s first drive-up COVID-19 testing site rose to between three and four hours Thursday, even as Gov. Jared Polis said the state needs to open more mobile testing sites.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said Thursday it was unable to reach every person waiting in the line for testing before deciding to set a cut-off point, according to a news release.
“Those who are already in line behind that cut off-point will receive a note that allows them priority for testing in line tomorrow,” the department said in a news release, adding that it now has capacity for private lab testing.
As the line grew earlier in the day, the health department urged those who go to the drive-up site to bring food and water and prepare for the long wait. Patients do not get out of their vehicles during the testing process, and bathrooms are not available.
Patients must bring a doctor’s order confirming they meet the current testing criteria for the novel coronavirus, as well as a photo identification.
The testing site is located at 8100 E. Lowry Blvd. in Denver and is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today and Friday. About 160 people were tested at the drive-up site Wednesday.
So far in Colorado, 44 people have tested positive for the new coronavirus in 11 counties and officials have seen “limited community spread” of the disease. About 350 people have been tested.
The wait time at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing center in Lowry is 3-4 hours. Lab hours of operations are 10-2pm. Please remember to bring a doctors note to get tested. Also bring water and food since wait times are long.
— Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (@CDPHE) March 12, 2020
Polis has said the state needs to exponentially increase its testing in order to combat the spread of the virus, which the World Health Organization declared to be a global pandemic.
COVID-19, the highly contagious respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus, mainly spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and those who are within 6 feet of an infected person are most at risk.
Those who test positive for the disease are required to self-quarantine and remain isolated from others until public health officials determine it’s safe for them to reintegrate.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging non-infected people to use basic hygiene to lower the risk of infection, like handwashing, hand sanitizers and disinfectants. The agency also suggests that people make an effort to avoid crowded areas with poor ventilation.
Polis also on Wednesday urged Colorado’s most at-risk populations — those over 60 or with underlying health issues — to avoid traveling to the state’s high country, where the virus has struck disproportionately and medical resources are more limited.
Typical symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, coughing and shortness of breath, according to the CDC. Those who think they might be infected should call their regular physician.
For more information on the virus, call 303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911, email COHELP@RMPDC.org, or go to cdc.gov or colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/2019-novel-coronavirus.
This content was originally published here.