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Colorado issues new COVID-19 testing criteria, updates guidance for uninsured & undocumented people

New criteria expands pool of possible test subjects
Posted: 4:32 PM, Mar 12, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-12 18:32:01-04
denver drive up covid-19 coronavirus test facility

DENVER – Colorado changed its criteria for testing for novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on Thursday and issued guidance for uninsured and undocumented people on how to get tested if it is necessary.

The state said the testing criteria was expanded to increase the number of people eligible for testing so health officials can continue to identify cases and limit possible community spread and the infection of more at-risk people.

Coronavirus in Colorado: COVID-19 latest updates across the state

The criteria for COVID-19 testing in Colorado as of Thursday, March 12 are:

--Any person, including health care workers, who has had close contact with a lab-confirm COVID-19 patient within 14 days of the onset of symptoms and has a fever or shows symptoms of a lower respiratory illness

--Any person with a history of travel to areas with ongoing community transmission (domestic or international) within 14 days of the onset of symptoms and has a fever or symptoms of a lower respiratory illness that doesn’t have an alternative explanation, such as influenza.

--Any person who is hospitalized and has a fever or symptoms of a lower respiratory illness without an alternative explanation, such as influenza.

--Any person who lives in a residential facility, like a nursing home, who has a fever or symptoms of a lower respiratory illness without an alternative explanation, such as influenza.

--Any healthcare worker, clinical lab worker or first responder who has new symptoms of the virus within 14 days of having direct contact with patients with symptoms of respiratory illness, or with those people’s clinical specimens. They must also have a fever or symptoms of a lower respiratory illness without an alternative explanation, such as influenza.

--Any person who is at risk of severe illness due to COVID-19, including adults aged 65+, and people with chronic medical conditions or compromised immune systems (e.g. diabetes, heart disease, receiving immunosuppressive medications, chronic lung disease, chronic kidney disease) who also has a fever or symptoms of a lower respiratory illness without an alternative explanation, such as influenza.

--Outbreaks or clusters of respiratory illness. Any person who is a member of a group with multiple symptomatic individuals that is being investigated by public health officials who also has a fever or signs symptoms of lower respiratory illness.

People who do not meet the aforementioned criteria will not be eligible for testing.

We’ve also received many questions about what uninsured or undocumented people should do if they feel they are symptomatic but do not have the resources to pay for a doctor’s visit to get a note to be tested.

The state also released guidance for those groups on Thursday.

While the COVID-19 test done at the state lab will be free of charge and will require no proof of insurance, it does require a doctor’s note that confirms a person meets the criteria for testing and a person will need a photo ID to match the doctor’s note.

For people without insurance who fear having to pay for a doctor’s visit in order to obtain a note, they can go to the state lab and will be directed to a nurse or epidemiologist on-site at the state lab testing center in order to be assessed. If the person does not meet the criteria, they will not be tested.

The CDPHE said that uninsured people can also talk to health care providers, who may refer them to a federal resource center. Uninsured people may also call their local public health agency to determine the best route for testing.

Undocumented persons can be tested the same as anyone else using any photo ID at the state facility – the ID does not need to be issued by the government.

Coloradans in certain industries will be eligible for up to four days of paid sick leave from their employer while they are being tested for novel coronavirus (COVID-19) under new emergency rules ordered by the governor earlier this week and issued by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) on Wednesday afternoon.

For more information on what to do if you need to be tested for COVID-19 and what to do if you test positive, you can head over to the state’s FAQ page for more answers.

For the latest updates on COVID-19 in Colorado, click here.