What to know about screening for a COVID-19 test

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DENVER (KDVR) -- The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will re-open its drive-up test site at the Denver Coliseum Saturday morning, accepting the first 100-150 people in line. In order to get tested, people in line must have an order from a doctor.

Primary care physicians like Dr. Gordon Ehlers are on the frontlines of the screening process that determines who gets those tests, which are in short supply. Ehlers says the screening process should start with a call to your doctor before showing up in person.

"That will keep them out of the waiting room, keep them from infecting people who aren't infected," said Ehlers.

Ehlers says a simple phone call to your doctor can give you more information on how to get tested. He recommends telling them about your symptoms or why you believe you need a test. They may recommend you come in to be screened in person.

The order Ehlers is using in his office allows doctors to circle which symptoms a patient is experiencing, such as fever, cough or shortness of breath. It also allows them to circle epidemiological risks, such as close contact with a COVID-19 patient and recent travel to an area with ongoing community transmission.

Ehlers says the screening process has been made difficult by constantly changing criteria as well as a shortage of testing materials. He says the eventual goal is for primary care offices to be able to test patients and send those samples to a private lab for analysis. Ehlers says his office may have that ability by next week, which would help speed up the testing process.

Ehlers encourages people to not show up at emergency rooms hoping to receive a COVID-19 test.

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