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Just as the state of Colorado and Chaffee County began to get a breather from the November Delta variant surge of COVID, now along comes the Omicron variant. The variant is highly contagious; within only three weeks it now accounts for more than 70 percent of new cases across the country. The Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment (CCPHE) has warned that while the state is in better shape than it was a month ago, the next six weeks could be a critical surge time.

With the holidays upon us, Chaffee County Public Health (CCPH) has announced new hours and locations for getting tested so you can gather with family and friends for the holidays.

If you gather and then start to experience symptoms, CCPH’s Community Testing Clinic options for the last two weeks of December are changed:

See for more information about testing for COVID-19. Testing will be at the mobile testing clinic in Salida.

The remaining testing dates are as follow:

  • 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Monday, December 27 at the C Street Entrance at the Touber Building (448 East 1st Street, Salida)
  • 12:00 noon to 4:00 pm Tuesday, December 28 at the C Street Entrance at the Touber Building (448 East 1st Street, Salida)

This test site will offer PCR tests only. No rapid testing will be done at this location. Results will be returned in 24 to 48 hours.

Residents can also go to local pharmacies or their primary care physician for COVID testing.

Free At-home COVID Test Kits

The state of Colorado is also offering free at-home  COVID-19 Rapid At-Home Binax test kits to Colorado residents through the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Rapid At-Home Testing Program.

Each individual order comes with two (2) Binax OTC kits that contain two (2) tests each for a total of four (4) tests to be used.

If you have symptoms, CDPHE urges residents to get tested immediately and isolate (

Readers can visit the following website for a list of more than 100 free state-sponsored COVID-19 testing sites across the state to find the nearest free testing location:

If you have any questions, please reach out by Email to cdphe

Know When to Test

CCPH has provided the following guidance on exactly who should consider getting a COVID test

  • Most people who have had close contact (within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with someone with confirmed COVID-19.
  • Fully vaccinated people should be tested 5-7 days following a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 and wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result.
  • People who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 3 months and recovered do not need to get tested following an exposure, as long as they do not develop new symptoms.
  • Unvaccinated people who have taken part in activities that put them at higher risk for COVID-19 because they cannot physically distance as needed to avoid exposure, such as travel, attending large social or mass gatherings, or being in crowded or poorly ventilated indoor settings.
  • People who have been asked or referred to get tested by their healthcare provider, or state, tribal, local, or territorial health department.
  • CDC recommends that anyone with any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 get tested, regardless of vaccination status or prior infection. If you get tested because you have symptoms or were potentially exposed to the virus, you should stay away from others pending test results and follow the advice of your health care provider or a public health professional.