Summit County ends mobile testing service, looks for more accessible options
KEYSTONE — In an effort to be more accessible, Summit County is reevaluating its testing strategy for the novel coronavirus.
At Summit County Board of Health meetings Tuesday, Oct. 6, and Thursday, Oct. 8, Public Health Director Amy Wineland provided updates on the county’s response to the pandemic. Included in those updates, was an announcement that the county will no longer be providing its mobile testing program starting Saturday, Oct. 10.
“We were hoping that those mobile units were really going to be reaching our access and functional needs population,” Wineland said at Tuesday’s meeting. “What we’ve identified is what we’re really seeing are our more affluent and well-resourced population taking advantage of those sites instead of driving to Frisco.”
Testing will continue at the daily clinic at Centura Health’s Centers for Occupational Medicine in the Vista Professional Building in Frisco and at the Summit Community Care Clinic, public health spokesperson Nicole Valentine said in an interview Thursday.
In the meantime, the county will be looking at a mobile testing option in which nurses will travel to people’s homes to administer tests. The county hopes it will be more accessible for people who don’t have the resources to go to Frisco.
“We’re really looking at a model where we can do some testing for people who don’t have transportation,” Wineland said. “We don’t want people getting on a bus, for example, who might be infectious or might need a test.”
Valentine did not have a timeline for the new mobile testing program’s launch. People who need a test for the virus can schedule an appointment through Centura by calling 970-668-5584.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Wineland also said testing has been in high demand in the past few weeks.
“We’ve found that through the (Centura) testing site, only 45% of people that show up actually have symptoms,” she said.
Wineland said it’s important for people to get tested only if they have symptoms or have been exposed to the virus, in which case people should get a test around five to seven days after exposure.
“Otherwise, it really doesn’t provide a lot of information for anybody who’s worried that they may have been exposed but don’t really know that they have been exposed,” she said. “We don’t want people to have false security that they aren’t going to get it the next day.”
At the two meetings, officials also shared concern that the county might have to eventually move into a more restrictive phase of response to the virus. Currently, the county is in safer-at-home Level 2, which is labeled “concern.” If the county fails to have fewer than 175 cases per 100,000 people for 14 consecutive days, it will move back into Level 3, which is labeled “high risk.”
On Tuesday, the county’s numbers were above the 175-cases threshold. However, case numbers did drop back down into Level 2 parameters Thursday.
“This was really great news to see it jump back down,” Wineland said. “Let’s hope that we keep this trend going.”
County Manager Scott Vargo said the 14-day clock will start ticking again if the county sees more than 175 cases per 100,000 people.
“If we stay for the next several days below that (threshold) and again pop back up, we’ve got 14 days since we exceeded that threshold,” he said. “Hopefully, we continue to see that trend going down rather than hovering on that line.”
Wineland urged people to continue following the county’s six commitments of containment to wear a mask, wash hands, stay 6 feet from others, stay home when sick, get tested if sick and get a flu shot.
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