Coloradans still struggling to find doctors, tests for COVID-19

Coronavirus
Data pix.

DENVER (KDVR) -- Frustrations are boiling over for many Coloradans trying to navigate the swamped medical system tasked with tackling the coronavirus outbreak.

“I’m proud to announce that the state lab in Colorado has eliminated it’s testing backlog,” Gov. Jared Polis said during his Wednesday press conference announcing a stay-at-home order for the state. “We’ve tripled our testing capacity.”

Polis made it clear that expanding testing is a priority. In his press conference he referenced the seven mobile testing sites the state has operated to date, and how he wants to expand testing in communities like Fort Collins, Grand Junction and Colorado Springs. 

But the promise for more testing in the future doesn’t really help the people that need it now.

“My throat feels like glass,” said Robert Preston in between coughs. “My body aches all over.”

Preston stayed at home Wednesday, sick from his job as a full-service shopper for Instacart, a grocery delivery service. He has spent hours on the phone with hospitals or urgent care, but is being discouraged from coming in due to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. 

The problem is: Preston is worried his employer won’t offer extended sick pay for a full 14-day quarantine without confirmation he has COVID-19.

The Problem Solvers reached out to Instacart to learn more about its insurance policy, but they would not comment on the record. 

“I may be exhibiting symptoms, but I don’t know for sure if I have it. But on the other note, I don’t know for sure if I don’t,” Preston said.

Meanwhile, Pamela Washington’s husband is a grocery store worker in Parker. He has a doctor’s note and recommendation to get tested for COVID-19.

When she asked the doctor where to go, she got a shrug.

“It’s very frustrating because we’re kind of in a holding pattern,” Washington said. “We’ve been calling urgent care facilities, hospitals, anything we can think of, and nobody knows where we can go to get tested.”

We tried to answer Washington’s questions by pointing her to the state government’s website. The page has no information about where to get tested, merely saying, “Whether or not you are diagnosed with COVID-19, if you don’t need to be hospitalized, your treatment will be the same, no matter the test result. Ideally, everyone who wanted a test would be able to get one, but right now, that is not possible.”

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