Summit County officials boost COVID-19 testing, vaccination plans
As Summit County comes to grips with the news that it won’t be moving out of level red restrictions anytime soon, officials are working to boost local testing and vaccination efforts.
At the Summit County Board of Health meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 15, Public Health Director Amy Wineland presented testing and vaccination updates. At the meeting, Wineland said the county is encouraging everyone, regardless of symptoms or exposure to the virus, to get tested.
“It is really vital that people get tested, especially if they’re out and about and not quarantining themselves in their homes,” she said. “It’s extremely important for anyone with any symptoms, mild symptoms included, to also go get tested. It’s really one of the only tools we’ve had to isolate people and get their close contacts in quarantine.”
Over the weekend, the county moved the location of both the Vail Health and state-run testing sites. The Vail Health site is now operating out of the old Speakeasy Movie Theater, 103 S. Harris St. in Breckenridge. The state site moved to a Century Link warehouse building, 591 Center Circle in Silverthorne.
Wineland said both of the sites were able to move successfully. The state site has been performing 100-200 tests per day, and the Vail Health site was able to test 75 people Monday, its first day at the new location.
How often people should get tested depends on their activity around others, Assistant County Manager Sarah Vaine said.
“If you’re someone who’s really quarantining yourself and getting things delivered or picking things up and not having any contact with anyone, then maybe less frequently,” Vaine said. “But for those of us who do go out in the community, it does make sense every couple of weeks, at least, to get a test.”
Despite an increase in cases across the country, both Summit County and the state of Colorado managed to avoid a spike in cases over the Thanksgiving holiday.
“We know that the policies in place have been working,” Wineland said. “We were able to suppress our Thanksgiving bump.”
At a news conference Tuesday, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said testing, along with other mitigation efforts such as staying home and wearing a mask, has helped avoid a spike in cases in Colorado.
“We were successful … with our Thanksgiving in Colorado,” Polis said. “Some states that had similar trends with Colorado saw a Thanksgiving spike, but I’m very proud that Coloradans stepped up.”
Polis added that people should avoid multihousehold gatherings over the Christmas holiday. If people do plan to gather, they should start quarantining themselves now.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Wineland also gave an update on the county’s vaccination efforts.
The first doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been delivered to St. Anthony Summit Medical Center in Frisco and will be given to front-line, inpatient health care workers.
Once the county receives its allocation of the Moderna vaccine, which is still awaiting approval from the Food and Drug Administration, the county plans to host a vaccination drive-thru for people who qualify at the Bus Barn on Peak One Drive in Frisco.
The county is tentatively planning to host that drive-thru clinic on Christmas Day. However, the exact date will depend on when the county receives its allocation of vaccines.
“We’ve been working closely with the hospital to identify those folks who are first in line, those folks who are most at risk,” Wineland said. “Of course, we want our hospital staff to be healthy and to be able to continue not only caring for COVID patients but anybody who needs that level of care.”
The following places offer testing for the virus in Summit County:
• Centura Health’s Centers for Occupational Medicine in Frisco: Testing available daily by appointment at the Vista Professional Building. To schedule an appointment, call 970-668-5584.
• State testing in Silverthorne: Drive-thru testing available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily at 591 Center Circle in Silverthorne. No appointment, insurance or identification is required.
• Vail Health testing in Breckenridge: Testing is available by appointment from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays at the old Speakeasy Movie Theater, 103 S. Harris St. in Breckenridge. To book an appointment, email firstname.lastname@example.org including name, phone number and a copy of photo ID.
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