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As Chaffee County moves into more stringent measures in the wake of sharply increasing COVID-19 cases, additional testing at the county fairgrounds was held Thursday afternoon. Dec. 3.

From noon until 3 p.m., residents who had registered earlier online drove into the facility, where Chaffee County Public Health (CCPH) workers performed in-car testing in an attempt to discover additional infections likely caused by Thanksgiving travel and gatherings.

The department announced Wednesday it would only accept online registrations for the tests until 8 a.m. Thursday morning. Still, about a dozen cars were lined up inside the fairgrounds shortly after noon that day.

The CCPH department recently announced that the county would be initiating further restrictions as of 5 p.m. Friday under mandate from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) because of sharply increasing cases in the county. The declaration will move the county into the Orange (high-risk) designation from the Yellow level. Among other things it will restrict capacity in most sectors from 50 percent to 25 percent.

Public Health Director Andrea Carlstrom in announcing the change, said “The majority of the county has worked so hard to prevent this from happening. Now is the time to protect us from sliding into the Red level. It is going to take each and every one of us, and if anyone can do it, Chaffee County can.”

Free COVID-19 Community Testing Clinics are still operating weekly under the direction of the CCPH.

  • Mondays-Fridays in Salida from 10:30 a.m.-noon at the Touber Building, 448 E. First St., in the C Street parking lot
  • Wednesdays in Buena Vista from 10:30 a.m.-noon at the Annex, 114 Linderman Ave. .

Testing is by appointment only and appointments must be scheduled by 4 p.m. the day before the testing clinic. To be screened/scheduled for an appointment, please do the following:

Call 719-539-4510 (and only this number) and clearly leave your name, number and a brief message. If you have more than one family member that needs testing, assign one household member to make appointments for everyone.

Leave one message and please do not call any other extensions at CCPH.

If the CCPH team has not returned your call in 24 hours, please call back as your message might have been muffled or damaged. CCPH checks for messages frequently.

Do not call repeatedly, as this delays our response and takes additional time away from making appointments.

Be prepared! When calling for a COVID-19 test, please have ready all patient’s  names, dates of births, phone numbers and mailing addresses readily available. You will also be asked about exposure dates and/or symptoms. Having this information on hand ensures the quickest appointment times and less time on the phone with the CCPH team.

Featured image: Chaffee County Public Health workers conduct drive-up coronavirus testing at the Chaffee County Fairgrounds on Dec. 3. Dan Smith photo.