Letter: Troubles with testing?

Today I tried to discover where my husband and I — we are vaccinated — could get a quick COVID-19 test in advance of traveling out of state to visit friends. We did not want to take a chance of spreading the disease. In the two weeks before Sept. 5, Routt County had 151 new cases of COVID-19. About 30% of August cases were vaccinated people.

At least for us, COVID-19 testing in Routt County is filled with obstacles, unknowns and costs. It is little wonder we cannot get a handle on this disease. Testing is basic to prevention.

The Routt County COVID-19 website says you can get a county test if you have coronavirus symptoms or have been in contact with someone who tested positive. You must make an appointment and fill out a questionnaire to be sure you qualify. Travel does not qualify. They do not tell you what to do if you want a test for travel. The type of test given, the cost (free?) and the time it takes to get results are not stated.

We called seven of the medical facilities and pharmacies listed on the Routt County website that do testing and listened to their lengthy recorded messages, pressed option buttons, were put on hold or asked to leave a message. We talked to two people. Some require an appointment through a website; others take walk-ins. Some will only test you from your car. It was not clear from any message or website what kind of test they are giving, whether they test for travel or when the results will be available. Some charge for a physician’s visit. They tell you it is unknown whether your insurance will cover the cost, about $100 or possibly more, and you need to call your insurance company to find out. No insurance? You pay.

Deciding to buy self-administered antigen kits, we called pharmacies to ask about supply. Two never answered; one had a few test kits at $32 each. This experience raises many questions about the logic behind this system.

I request our county government to simplify testing. Set a place where seven days a week anyone can walk in and get a free antigen test. We just need to know whether we are infected, and then we can make responsible decisions about unintentionally exposing others to COVID-19.

Mayling Simpson

Steamboat Springs

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