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May 21, 2020

COVID-19 testing widely available in Boulder County

Residents with symptoms or those who work with the public are encouraged to get tested

Boulder County, CO — This week Governor Polis announced that Colorado now has the supplies and capacity to test anyone with COVID-19 symptoms and encourages those with symptoms to get tested for the virus.

“Now that we have adequate supplies we hope residents who have symptoms of COVID-19, have contact with someone who is positive, or who is an essential worker will consider getting tested,” said Dr Chris Urbina, Boulder County Public Health medical officer. “Testing can help quickly identify people with the illness and ensure they’re safely separated from others to prevent spread of the disease at home or work. Early testing also helps to identify anyone who was in close contact with the infected person so that they too can quickly and safely be separated from others to stop disease spread.”

Anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 can be tested. In addition, anyone with or without symptoms who is employed as a health care worker, nursing home worker, first responder, or is an essential worker who directly interacts with the public while working, per state or employer guidelines, can also get tested.

Boulder County residents who would like to be tested for the novel coronavirus and meet the testing criteria can contact their regular health care provider or visit a community testing site.

Both the viral (swab-based) testing and antibody (serology) testing are available. Viral tests determine if the virus is present in a person’s body. They help diagnose new infections quickly after a person has become infected so the spread of disease can be contained. Antibody tests or serologic tests look for the body's response to the virus in the blood and can be used in research to understand where the virus has been and the extent of its spread. Antibody tests cannot be used to diagnosis an acute infection.

“The more people that get tested, the better picture we’ll have of the disease within the county,” said Jeff Zayach, Boulder County Public Health executive director. “One thing that’s important to remember is that as more people are tested, we will see more positive results. Tracking and tracing close contacts will be vital to control the virus and save lives.”

The Colorado Division of Insurance has directed Colorado-regulated insurance plans not to charge copays for testing, and residents with Medicaid insurance can get tested with no cost. For individuals without insurance, community testing sites can send samples to the state lab and the state will cover the cost of the testing and supplies. In addition, most businesses are now required to provide paid leave for those who test positive.

Some individuals or families may be newly eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program due to decreased income. Both programs cover costs of COVID-19-related health care (including doctor-ordered testing). Medicaid will cover life-threatening COVID-19-related health care for undocumented immigrants and will not be considered a negative factor in a public charge determination. Undocumented immigrants can also get free or very-low-cost COVID-19 health care at community health providers or primary care offices without Medicaid.

Anyone who has lost job-based health insurance coverage within the last 60 days may qualify for a special enrollment period in Connect for Health Colorado.

Community members can apply for Medicaid at www.Colorado.gov/PEAK, or visit www.boco.org/COVID-19ContactHHS to learn how to apply through Boulder County Housing and Human Services.

For information about testing results in Boulder County, visit www.boco.org/covid19illnessrecovery.

-BoulderCountyHealth.org-