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Colorado sees surge in demand for COVID-19 testing

Dr. Richard Zane with UCHealth said demand for testing is unprecedented, but it's important to remember when it's necessary to be tested.

COLORADO, USA — The holiday rush is not over at COVID-19 testing sites across Colorado.

Some waited more than two hours to be tested on Sunday at a mass vaccination site at Sky Ridge Medical Center. The same site closed two hours early on Monday after traffic backed up the streets surrounding the hospital.

The demand for testing is "unprecedented," said Dr. Richard Zane, Chief of Emergency Medicine at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital.

Zane spoke to 9NEWS Monday about the state of testing in Colorado.

What is the demand for COVID-19 testing like in Colorado?

"I think there’s unprecedented demand now for an unprecedented, very contagious variant, but I think we all need to take a little bit of a deep breath and understand when testing is important and when testing is not important."

Who should be getting tested for COVID-19 right now?

“If you are symptomatic, you should be tested, and we have adequate testing to test people who are symptomatic. If you need a test to go back to school or work or to travel, we have adequate testing. Where people are running into long lines is asymptomatic testing for unclear purposes.” 

Who doesn't need a COVID-19 test?

“The utility of testing in asymptomatic people who’ve been vaccinated and boosted is really quite limited, so if you are asymptomatic and you’ve been vaccinated and boosted, you don’t need a test. Pure and simple.”

If I'm infected with the Omicron variant, when am I most likely to show symptoms?

“If you are going to become symptomatic after being exposed to COVID, that is a three to seven day window, and while you are symptomatic is when you have the highest chance of a test being positive.” 

What should I keep in mind if I want to gather with family and friends on New Year's Eve?

“If the people with whom you’re gathering are fully vaccinated and boosted, none of them are symptomatic, the chances are very low that you’re going to spread Omicron, and more importantly, the consequences are very low. If I were not vaccinated or boosted, regardless of a test, I would not be going anywhere right now.”

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