DENVER (KDVR) – Two and a half million more Coloradans can make a COVID-19 vaccination appointment today, which means vaccination sites are popping up around the area as more testing centers close down and testing demand declines.
Testing has slowed since vaccines rolled out. Statewide, private and state-run testing sites are performing half as many tests as they were during the pandemic’s worst stretch last fall. Mid-November last year, medical staff tested an average 51,000 Coloradans every day. As of Monday, they were only doing an average 22,000 tests a day.
“We are winding down some of our testing locations, transitioning over the vaccinations, and doing whatever is necessary,” said Brittany Xiu with COVIDCheck Colorado. “As the community’s interest in vaccinations is ramping up and we are continuing to expand vaccination availability, we have had to make the tough decisions about what locations to be strategic about moving away from and converting some of those testing sites to vaccination locations.”
COVIDCheck Colorado was created specifically to provide educators access to free, fast and reliable COVID-19 tests. By providing district and school leaders with a data dashboard reporting timely and accurate information on the prevalence of COVID-19 within schools, leaders could use the information to make informed decisions and stop outbreaks before they could start. Given the impact of COVID in schools, Gov. Jared Polis and the Colorado Department of Health and Environment chose to partner with COVIDCheck to expand testing to more Coloradans.
Since November, COVIDCheck Colorado has made free testing available to anyone in Colorado. In the past seven months, they have administered over 650,000 PCR tests at 40 locations throughout Colorado. It’s made the transition to administering vaccines much easier.
“We have been able to take footprints that we used formally for testing, modify them a little bit, sometimes moving a shipping container or two to make it possible,” said Xiu.
COVIDCheck has closed two of its testing centers so far, both of which were on school campuses.
“We are really in a unique position where we are doing everything possible to support the community returning safely and that means that we are doing everything possible to put ourselves out of business,” said Xiu.
As more and more groups become eligible for the vaccine, they are working to remove barriers so that everyone who is eligible to get a vaccine is able to do so. To date, they’ve administered 8,585 doses at North Suburban Medical Center – 41,000 vaccines overall.
COVIDCheck’s partnership with HealthOne has grown so much in the last couple of months that they are now operating in partnership with three of HealthOne’s medical campuses. COVIDCheck has vaccination sites that run at North Suburban, the Medical Center of Aurora and Sky Ridge Medical Center.
For anyone who is interested in being invited to a COVIDCheck vaccination event in their community when they are eligible for a vaccine, please visit www.covidcheckcolorado.org and sign up on COVIDCheck’s pre-registry. For people interested in getting vaccinated at a HeatlhONE site, visit www.healthonecares.com.