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Governors, including Colorado’s governor, appear fed up with the slow turnaround time from labs tasked with processing test results for the coronavirus known as COVID-19, are beginning to take matters into their own hands, which might be what President Donald Trump wants.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis has held regular press conferences about the state’s handling of the coronavirus known as COVID-19. During two press conferences the week of July 20,  he lowered the time of ‘last call’ at bars to 10 pm, then Thursday announced the ramping up of state COVID-19 testing capability. Image by Kevin J.Beaty Denverite

In an appearance on the MSNBC 11th Hour show hosted by BrianWilliams, Colorado Governor Jared Polis covered the actions he has decided to take this week to improve the state’s pandemic response. He’s ordering the ramping up of state testing facilities, including at the University of Colorado and Colorado State University, to address the growing backlog of cases at the national testing labs and the state’s need for faster test results.

“We’ve experienced the same backlog as other states, they’re swamped. It’s taking 10 days, 11 days to get results back, and the test results are almost useless then,” said Polis.

“We’re seeing heroic efforts at CSU. The University of Colorado is developing a 45-minute test,” said Polis. “Unfortunately, our nation is not rising to the occasion, and that shouldn’t hold us back, or the state of Colorado back.”

The effort can’t come too soon. Today the state announced 616 new cases, up from the average cases it’s been reporting; around 500 per day. The state’s COVID-19  total is now more than 43,000. While this is lower than surging states around us, the virus has shown how quickly stable situations can change.

County after county in Colorado are reporting test processing is taking longer than a week, and in many cases is coming back the day before the end of the person’s 14-day quarantine. That was exactly the case for a test result that came back late today for a Chaffee County resident. “We got it back the day before her quarantine ended,” said Chaffee County Director of Public Health Andrea Carlstrom. “What good is that?”

Earlier this week Polis took what was, for some, an unpopular step; ordering alcohol sales to be suspended at 10 p.m. Williams asked him, “If you’re having a spike what are people doing drinking at bars at 10:00 at night?”

Polis responded, “People in normal times that’s a personal decision to drink ’til one or two in the morning.  But the outbreak is growing in the 20 to 29-year-old age group.  We just had to do an earlier last call.”

When asked what the face mask compliance rates might be in Boulder or Denver tonight, Polis said the state’s percentages are encouraging.

“I’d say 95 percent. Even in conservative areas of the state like Grand Junction,  they’re around 95 percent,” answered Polis. “Coloradans are smart. They know what we have to do to keep people safe.”