COVID-19 Rapid tests available at Steamboat City Hall; more locations next week |

COVID-19 Rapid tests available at Steamboat City Hall; more locations next week

The Colorado Department of Public Health and environment is working to distribute more at-home rapid tests next week.

When Steamboat Springs was seeing an unprecedented spike in COVID-19 cases, council member Dakotah McGinlay felt like the city could do more. She started brainstorming.

One idea was ordering a swath of COVID-19 rapid tests to distribute, so McGinlay reached out to some manufacturers and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to get an idea of what it would take.

But local business leaders were lukewarm on the idea, saying it would only have a limited impact, and council opted not to order any tests.

“Then about a month later two boxes showed up at city hall with my name on them,” McGinlay said, of an unexpected shipment of COVID-19 rapid tests from CDPHE. “It might be a little too late for their intended purpose, but I’m glad that they’re available for the community.”

Starting Thursday, Feb. 17, these COVID-19 rapid tests are available for free to pick up at Steamboat Springs City Hall. There is a limit to one test kit per person — each kit contains two tests — as the city only has 160 at the moment.

While the city’s tests did come from CPHE, Routt County Public Health Director Roberta Smith said they are different than a larger program from the state health agency meant to increase the availability of tests across the state. Smith said the program will be formally announced next week.

State officials are coordinating with libraries and other community locations currently, and there should be a final list of locations next week. Smith said she ordered tests to be available to pick up through the Public Health Department on Wednesday, Feb. 16, and she expects to have them next week.

“I think it helps improve access,” Smith said. “Just having them on hand is a good idea if you’ve been exposed or you start having symptoms.”

The tests are currently available at city hall from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Friday, while supplies last. Tests won’t be available on Monday, Feb. 21 as city hall is closed for Presidents Day

The rapid tests can be taken at home and can give a result in about 15 minutes. If a result is positive it should be reported to public health officials.

People can also pick up higher-quality N95 masks at city hall that are being distributed statewide by the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Masks are limited to three per person.

Masks are also available at several local libraries, including Bud Werner Memorial Library in Steamboat Springs and both branches of the South Routt Library District in Yampa and Oak Creek.

“160 rapid tests came, that’s not a whole lot, I imagine they’ll be gone pretty quick,” McGinlay said. “I think that if that is one of the things that the city could do, we should keep that on our radar.”

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