The ongoing partnership between San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) and healthcare providers in La Plata and Archuleta Counties has successfully provided no-barrier community-wide COVID-19 testing opportunities. With a sharp increase in demand for tests, some of which is coming from out of state visitors, constraints on laboratories that receive tests from around the country, and constraints on testing supplies and staff, the focus of free community testing sites is shifting to prioritize those who most need to be tested.
“SJBPH continues to emphasize the importance of testing in controlling the spread of COVID-19, as each additional diagnostic test taken gives us an understanding of the transmission of the disease in our community and helps us make strategic decisions on how we respond.”, said Liane Jollon, Executive Director of SJBPH.
SJBPH is requesting that individuals refer to the following prioritization when considering whether or not they should be tested at a free community testing site:
- High priority: people with COVID-19 symptoms and those notified of an exposure by SJBPH or another public health agency.
- Medium priority: people with no symptoms or identified exposure but who live or work with high risk populations such as:
- Residents or employees of congregate living or work settings (dorms, long-term care facilities, detention facilities)
- People experiencing homelessness
- Employees of high-risk workplaces monitored by public health
All others without a known exposure seeking assurance that they do not have the virus, including those instructed to get a test by an employer or educational facility and those testing for travel-related reasons are not considered a priority for free community testing. Written results for these purposes cannot be provided. Additional testing sites are available by appointment through private testing providers.
Employers interested in widespread testing for their staff should work directly with a private testing provider rather than utilizing free community testing sites, in order to preserve testing capacity for those with symptoms or a known exposure. A list of testing sites is available at sjbpublichealth.org/testing.
The Mercy Regional test site has been moved to the North Parking lot at the intersection of Mercado and Nighthorse Circle.