COVID-19 testing options reduced in Grand as cases surge
Facing shortages, COVID-19 testing has been rolled back by a number of providers in the county.
Grand County Public Health Director Abbie Baker explained to commissioners on Tuesday that PCR testing is limited across the county.
“Supplies for testing, particularly PCR testing, is in severe short supply for our medical providers in the county,” Baker said. “A lot of them have pulled back from offering general public testing to only their patients with symptoms.”
As of last week, Middle Park Health is no longer offering COVID testing of the general public. Denver Health, Byers Peak Family Medicine and Fraser Medical Clinic are offering testing for symptomatic patients only and patients must call ahead for an appointment, according to the Grand County Public Health website.
Saliva PCR tests continue to be offered by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays behind the Inn at Silvercreek in Granby.
An additional state provided testing center will be available 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursdays at the Fraser Historic Church. The site opening was delayed last week due to the weather.
Baker explained that staffing has limited the efforts to expand testing on the east end of the county for the ski season. The contractor at the Inn at Silvercreek couldn’t provide the services the county had hoped for.
“They’re having issues finding the staff to open another test site in Fraser,” Baker said. “We had initially planned on Thursdays and Fridays having that available, but they don’t have staff right now to open an additional test site.”
The county was able to find another contractor through the state, but they’re only available to test on Thursdays.
Grand County Public Health is also offering free rapid antigen tests 10 a.m. to noon on Thursdays at 620 Hemlock Street in Hot Sulphur Springs.
“We are looking at expanding that offering just because testing has become harder to get across Grand County right now,” Baker said.
She explained that the county is getting enough rapid tests for the moment, though they are going through it faster lately with the tests harder to find at stores and online.
Grand County towns have requested that rapid tests be offered more often in the county, but Baker said she doesn’t have the staffing to distribute those tests.
“Staff capacity is severely limited right now, but I would need to explore alternate options to getting those tests out if our supply continues to be where we need it to be,” she said.
See the most up-to-date testing options in Grand County at http://www.co.grand.co.us/1419/COVID-Testing-Options-in-Grand-County.
Baker added that therapeutics effective at improving omicron symptoms — with an estimated 95% of new COVID cases thought to be the omicron variant — are only available in limited supplies.
“There is of course an approval process or a qualification process to receive that treatment from Middle Park Health,” she said.
Grand County has seen 247 COVID-19 cases in the last week, equal to a case rate of 1,571 per 100,000 people. Of those, 94 were reported on Monday and 21.1% were in pediatric cases.
As of Tuesday, there were 12 residents hospitalized due to COVID-19, with 10 of those being unvaccinated people and the vaccination status unknown for the remaining two.
Statewide, 71% of those currently hospitalized are unvaccinated, which is a drop from previous data that held at around 80% unvaccinated to 20% vaccinated. ICU bed capacity has increased slightly in the state, with 8% of ICU beds available. Eight percent of acute care beds are available.
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