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There are more COVID-19 testing sites than ever for area residents, but there are still delays with people receiving results, Tri-County Health Department representatives told the Brighton City Council on July 28.

In addition to sites outside of city limits, Advanced Urgent Care and Salud Family Health Centers are expanding testing for the general public. Yet, some members of council think there needs to be more testing in Brighton and that the city should help pay for it. 

Among testing sites in Brighton or sites outside of the city that Brighton residents have gone to, the most tests were logged at the Adams County Detention Center with 616 tests and 541 tests at Platte Valley Medical Center. The county jail started widespread testing for inmates only on July 10 and PVMC only tests patients receiving medical care, reported Meghan Prentis, regional program coordinator for Tri-County Health.

Members of the general public have gone to Advanced Urgent Care in Brighton, Salud in Brighton and Fort Lupton, and Children’s Hospital Colorado and University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, among others.

While there are more sites and testing equipment, there are less-than-ideal delays for receiving results. The state lab run by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is having trouble processing the many tests coming from the Denver-based Pepsi Center location. The turnaround time for people there can be up to 14 days, said Wendy Nading, Tri-County’s program nurse manager. Nading said there’s a similar problem with testing sites that send samples to national labs processing tests from around the country.

Nading said locals might receive results more quickly if they go to state hospitals, such as University of Colorado Hospital or Denver-based National Jewish Health.

Another confusing thing for people is the cost of tests. The Tri-County representatives sorted through that also, noting that Salud offers free testing and Advanced Urgent Care will test people without insurance. While Advanced Urgent Cares’ tests aren’t free, the company started billing the federal government for people without insurance, of which the funding comes from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Before someone receives a test at either of those locations, they must virtually meet with a company medical provider to have their symptoms assessed.  

However, Mayor Pro Tem Matt Johnston thought it was too burdensome to entertain these technicalities about return of results and health insurance. He called upon council to direct the city to use its share of CARES funding to purchase tests for residents. Acting City Manager Marv Falconburg said the city has about $1.4 million left in CARES funding.

“We’ve done everything we can, at this point, for most of the small businesses. We’ve covered the economic impact in our community. It’s time to cover the health impact in our community,” Johnston said.

One option the city could pursue to streamline testing for residents, Nading said, is to enter into a contract with a partner already testing, such as Advanced Urgent Care or Salud. The city could also partner with the Brighton Fire Rescue District and help fund testing there. The city of Thornton launched a similar model with the city fire department.

Everyone seemed to agree that despite various challenges, testing remains a priority. Adams County reported 56 daily cases on July 28, according to Tri-County’s website. There has been more than 5,800 total cases in Adams County since the pandemic began and 168 deaths. There has been 433 total cases in Brighton and 747 cases in Commerce City.

For more information on local testing, see Tri-County’s web page.

Additional information about area testing sites:

  • Brighton Advanced Urgent Care, 2801 Purcell Street. Call 303-659-9700 or visit https://advurgent.com/locations/brighton/
  • Brighton Salud, 1860 Egbert Street. Testing is available on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Call 303-697-2583 or visit https://www.saludclinic.org/covid-testing
  • Fort Lupton Salud, 1115 2nd Street. Testing is available on Tuesday and Thursday. Call 303-697-2583 or visit https://www.saludclinic.org/covid-testing
  • Testing at the Commerce City Old Human Services Building, 7190 Colorado Boulevard, Suite 300. Testing will be available July 31 and August 7, 14, 21 and 28. Call 303-220-9200 or visit https://www.tchd.org/827/Testing-for-COVID-19.