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Mobile testing vans help rural communities get COVID-19 tests

The vans are scheduled to set up in different rural areas and offer hundreds of tests to residents.

The line for COVID-19 testing wraps far around the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. On days like Wednesday afternoon, it’s one of the closest places for people living in mountain communities like Evergreen or Idaho Springs or Conifer to get a free test. 

That’s now changing.  

"With more testing we will hope to find more cases," said Christine Billings, Head of the Office of Pandemic Response with Jefferson County Public Health. "We want to move our testing sites close to our community to allow ease of access."

Since the start of the pandemic, Billings said the challenge has always been reaching people outside the more populated cities. Mobile testing vans are now being used in several counties. 

In Douglas County, sites in Deckers and Larkspur will set up once a week. 

In Park County, the van will stop in Bailey on Mondays.

As health departments plead for people to stay home, she said access to testing in rural areas also needs to be close to home.

"We want to be able to give you the option to be able to test whether you are sick or not. If I’m not feeling well, I’m certainly not going to trek an hour down into the metro area to see if I have a disease," said Billings. "We’re hoping by bringing more testing in, we’re going to be able to help out our healthcare providers keep those hospitals open."

The mobile testing sites can administer between 300 and 500 tests a day. Health officials said people who get tested should get results back within three days. 

The mobile testing began on Monday, Nov. 23 and will pick up again on Friday after Thanksgiving.  

You can find more information about the mobile sites here

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