PITKIN COUNTY, Colo. — Aspen’s retail experience might mean to one person buying a fur coat and diamond earrings and to another a bag of pot and some powder skis. The pandemic, now nearly a year old, has spawned another type of specialty retailer downtown — private testing sites for COVID-19.
Aspen COVID Testing, which is part of Englewood-based Rocky Mountain Labs, began operations on the 600 block of East Hyman Avenue with a soft opening Dec. 14 and a public opening Dec. 21. Last week, the Aspen site passed the 4,000-mark in the number of tests given since it opened, the company said.
Vaccinations are top of mind when it comes to combating the coronavirus pandemic these days, but it wasn’t so long ago that limited access to asymptomatic testing was a dominating concern in the Aspen area.
Mountain towns including Aspen, even with its abundance of private wealth and heavy-hitters, lacked widespread testing while such cities as Grand Junction, Denver and Los Angeles had readily available testing sites for people without symptoms of COVID-19.
In Pitkin County, however, widespread testing was not available until the final quarter of 2020, when the Aspen School District starting testing students and staff.
>>Watch video above: Pitkin County leaders don't think COVID-19 surge is coming from skiing
SUGGESTED VIDEOS: COVID-19 Coronavirus