The state of Colorado is opening the country’s second drive-thru coronavirus testing station in Denver on Wednesday, according to a press release sent to Gizmodo late Tuesday. But there’s one catch: People can only get tested if they receive a doctor’s note recommending a test for the virus.
The testing center will open at 10:00 am local time at 8100 E. Lowry Blvd in Denver and closes at 2:00 pm. The drive-thru facility will only be open from Wednesday to Friday this week and the state will soon announce next week’s schedule online. The testing is free and no proof of health insurance is required to get tested at the new drive-thru clinic.
“This testing center will help the state test as many people as possible and improve the public health response by identifying and isolating those who are ill,” Colorado’s Department of Public Health and Environment said in a statement. “This approach also helps to protect older adults and people with compromised immune systems.”
There are now over 1,039 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. with at least 29 deaths, according to the most reliable online tracker maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The country had just 159 confirmed cases and 11 deaths a week ago.
People who want to get tested at the new drive-thru in Denver should obtain a doctor’s note via email or fax and shouldn’t visit their local clinic in person, according to Colorado health officials. Patients are required to have a form of ID (driver’s license, school ID, work badge, etc.) that matches the name on the doctor’s note. Health authorities in Colorado also warn that if there are multiple people in a vehicle everyone must have their own doctor’s note.
Colorado officials also caution there could be long wait times and there are no restrooms available at the testing facility. People who are tested in the new drive-thru will remain in their car the entire time while they receive a swab test and translation services will also be available for patients who don’t speak English.
Colorado announced two new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday afternoon, including a man in his 50s in Jefferson County and a teenage girl in Denver. The state currently has 17 known cases of the new coronavirus with patients ranging from school-age kids to people in their 70s. The state has no deaths, which have been primarily in the state of Washington so far.
Washington opened the country’s first drive-thru testing facility at the University of Washington Medical Center in North Seattle on Friday, but it’s only open to health care employees at the center and medical students who are showing symptoms of the disease. That facility can test between 40-50 people per day, according to local TV station KIRO7.
South Korea was the first country to introduce drive-thru testing, which has helped test about 200,000 people free of charge. Germany, Australia, and Italy have also rolled out drive-thru testing as a way to encourage more tests for the disease.
But the U.S. has been way behind the rest of the world, both in drive-thru tests and clinical tests, after the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) sent out faulty test kits in the first week of February. The governor of Colorado, Democrat Jared Polis, announced at a press conference on Tuesday that the state still doesn’t have enough tests to properly assess how many cases there might be in the region. Governor Polis noted that he recently had a phone call with Vice President Mike Pence, the head of the Trump regime’s coronavirus task force, about the issue.
“In that conversation, which lasted about 20 minutes, I stressed the need for exponentially more testing in Colorado,” Polis said.
Governor Polis declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, something at least 11 other states have done so far. Declaring a state of emergency allows states to get easier access to federal aid and often eases rules that would otherwise prohibit fast action to combat a public health crisis. New York’s state of emergency, for example, allows state health officials to pass rules without needing a quorum at public meetings, according to CNN.
Only about 5,000 people have been tested for COVID-19 in the United States, something that worries public health experts who believe the virus is much more widespread than we know. But when President Trump was asked about the failure of testing in the U.S. yesterday, he denied there was a problem.
“The testing has gone very well,” Trump told reporters on Tuesday. “And when people need a test, they can get a test. When the professionals need a test, when they need tests for people, they can get the test.”
That’s simply not true in large parts of the country, like Colorado. And a new report from the New York Times reveals federal authorities actively stepped in to stop clinical tests in the Seattle area in late February because the patients had no known travel history to countries with high concentrations of the disease.
From the New York Times:
The case was a teenager, in the same county where the first coronavirus case had surfaced, who had a flu swab just a few days before but had no travel history and no link to any known case.
The state laboratory [in Washington], finally able to begin testing, confirmed the result the next morning. The teenager, who had recovered from his illness, was located and informed just after he entered his school building. He was sent home and the school was later closed as a precaution.
Later that day, the investigators and Seattle health officials gathered with representatives of the C.D.C. and the F.D.A. to discuss what happened. The message from the federal government was blunt. “What they said on that phone call very clearly was cease and desist to Helen Chu,” Dr. Lindquist remembered. “Stop testing.”
The Trump regime’s handling of the coronavirus crisis is a national scandal, to say the least. And as it becomes clear that many states don’t have the necessary lab equipment to perform large numbers of tests, as Politico reported on Tuesday, the coronavirus pandemic is going to get a lot worse before it gets any better.