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With few tests available, Pueblo gets mobile lab to better understand COVID19 spread

Colorado National Guard medical personnel performs corona virus test on a motorist at a drive-through testing site outside the Denver Coliseum Saturday, March 14, 2020, in Denver. Officials planned to administer 150 tests but the line of vehicles wrapped around three city blocks. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The Numbers in Pueblo:

✅ 1 Positives
❓ 30 pending
🏥 ? Hospitalized
🧪 46 Tested
⚠️ 0 deceased
March 18, 2020

Mobile Testing is Coming to Pueblo:

  • Who can get the test: Only individuals that have a doctor’s prescription can get tested. If individuals have a prescription, they must have an appointment.
  • Where: Colorado State Fair Grounds.
  • Time: 10am.
  • How: Call 719-583-4444

Why It Matters: On Wednesday, Pueblo Health officials admitted they do not have a complete assessment of the Coronavirus spread in Pueblo County because of the limited number of tests. In the county, only 46 people have been tested and officials are waiting on 30 results.

What they are saying: Pueblo officials say if they had enough testing and equipment, they would have a clearer picture of the situation. But tests are scarce and the federal government wasn’t ready.

  • County Commissioner Chris Wiseman said the federal government was “ill-prepared” for it.
  • Joint Budget Committee Chair Rep. Daneya Esgar says, “I’m frustrated.”  
  • Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk Taylor used the analogy that fighting this virus is like fighting a wildfire; he wants more information so his team can react and adapt to keep the community safe.

Data is needed: Beyond saving lives and mitigating risk, with so few data points, public officials want better data to make better decisions.

The equipment problem: Governor Jared Polis said Monday more tests would be made available, but a developing problem is the equipment needed to administer the tests safely. A report from the New England Journal of Medicine found that COVID-19 can live in airborne particles for hours and on surfaces for up to 3 days increasing the need for protective equipment. More testing means scaling up PPE availability.

The big picture on testing: Until results come back from the pending cases, Pueblo County doesn’t have a full picture of Coronavirus spread. They need more data, fast.

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