Frisco to open new COVID-19 testing center next week
FRISCO — Frisco officials are hoping to open a new COVID-19 testing center at the Old Community Center next week.
The town is planning to open the testing center at Third Avenue and Granite Street as early as Wednesday, Nov. 4, according to Frisco’s Director of Marketing and Communications Vanessa Agee. The county has contracted with Vail Health to operate the center, which should be able to conduct as many as 200 cheek-swab tests a day.
“Summit County, the town of Frisco and Vail Health are hoping to be in there a little less than a week from now to do testing,” Agee said. “Obviously, that is dependent on a bunch of different factors, staffing and logistics, but from our end, we’re hoping to have it ready at that point.”
The Frisco Town Council discussed the issue during a work session Tuesday night, weighing the merits of potential testing sites around town. Town Manager Nancy Kerry said Summit County approached the town in hopes of increasing COVID-19 testing capabilities in the county, eyeing the First and Main Building for the newest center.
All of the council members agreed that they should be doing their part to support and encourage testing among community members, but there was considerable pushback against putting a testing site along Main Street.
“We’ve invested huge amounts in aiding our Main Street and weathering this storm called COVID,” council member Melissa Sherburne said. “First and Main is right next to part of our community, our historic park where our Christmas tree is, and where people still can enjoy a sense of the holidays. It’s across the street from thriving businesses. …
“This is literally the gateway to our Main Street. So seeing medical scrubs from top to bottom and face shields, I really worry about that and the experience that creates when you’re on Main Street.”
Council members suggested the Old Community Center in Frisco as a possible replacement, noting that it had better privacy, parking and accessibility. But using that location as a testing site has its own downsides, most notably the displacement of kids taking part in the town’s children’s programs.
The community center hosts tutoring, assistance with online learning, art and other programs for younger kids, all of which would have to be relocated to a licensed child care facility. SOS Outreach also has an office in the building and would have to relocate, as well.
There also were concerns that it might take significantly longer for Vail Health to get set up in the community center than at the First and Main Building. Mayor Hunter Mortensen said alternative sites should be considered only if there’s a quick timeline for opening.
“If you haven’t seen what’s going on, we are teetering on the edge of something terrible happening again,” Mortensen said about rising case numbers. “This will help us. With more tests, the more our numbers become realistic, and the more we have a chance of not closing and going back to stay-at-home. The last thing I would do is delay any testing.”
But things have moved along quickly. Agee confirmed Thursday that the Old Community Center “was a go.” Work has already gone into relocating the children’s programs, and there isn’t expected to be any interruptions in services aside from the change in location.
The programs will be relocated to the Day Lodge at the Frisco Adventure Park for now, but Agee noted that the town is in the process of getting new facilities licensed to take on children’s activities. Council members suggested the First and Main Building or the Town Council chambers at Town Hall as possible locations.
Agee said SOS Outreach nonprofit members would use town buildings to accommodate their office needs, likely Town Hall.
“We’re really grateful to have recreation staff who are really committed to child care and making sure working parents in Summit County have a safe place to bring their kiddos and to figure this out so that we can have testing, too,” Agee said. “Town Council obviously thinks both are a priority, and staff heard that and started working on it right away.”
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