COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- The El Paso County Health Department announced the expansion of COVID-19 test site hours. Now all four community sites will be open seven days week.
Almost 500,000 tests have been done in our county since the start of the pandemic, but compared to some regions in our state, our testing rates don’t measure up.
As of now, El Paso County’s testing rate is just over 60,000 tests per 100,000 people.
According to the Colorado Department of Public Health’s website, this doesn’t even place us in the top 19 for testing rates in the state. Officials with the El Paso County health department said though that statistic doesn’t alarm them, the county could be more competitive.
Officials are hoping expanding test site hours will help achieve statewide consistency.
“I don’t think this is any reflection of our inability to access testing," said Lisa Powell, El Paso County Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Program Manager. "I think it's just that right now we want to have the most available and easy to access testing that there is.”
The test site at the Citadel Mall expanded its availability from six days a week to seven.
The site in Fountain, which was only open Monday through Friday, is now open on weekends as well.
The biggest expansion is at the Pikes Peak Community College Rampart location, open now seven days a week after originally being open only three.
“People will be able to get in and out very quickly, so if they were hesitant cause they didn’t want to wait in line, that should no longer be a barrier,” said Powell.
Though the El Paso County Health Department is heavily involved in vaccine coordination, they have no plans to administer the vaccine themselves.
“It is much better for our community for us to use established providers who have staff available than for us to hire more staff to do that,” said Powell.
As of now, only PCR tests are available at community test sites. PCR tests are used to detect current infection of COVID-19.
County health officials say conducting antibody tests at community testing locations isn’t a priority.