COVIDCheck Colorado predicted a spike in demand after the holidays. As of Tuesday, the earliest appointment they had at any location is on Thursday.
As cases continue to rise, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is seeing a significant increase in demand for testing. The state is completing an average of 11,000 tests per day. During the holidays, daily volumes peaked at 20,000 tests or more per day.
“We’re consistently working to try to ramp up our capacity. It’s also worth nothing, even if folks aren’t able to make an appointment, we do have some walk up slots available for folks,” said Will Holden at COVIDCheck Colorado.
Testing is critical for slowing the spread, but demand means longer waits for tests and results. Holden says some tests take as long as five days to turn around.
CDPHE says rapid at-home testing is its most popular option. The state told CBS4 the holidays increased demand, and they’re filling orders as inventory allows. CDPHE has distributed more than 1.5 million tests to Coloradans statewide.
Typically, CDPHE says people receive their order within a week. The spike in demand and holiday shipping has caused longer delivery times.
CDPHE says they sent out tests last week and expect to send more this week.
Manufacturers are also taking longer to get rapid tests to pharmacies.
Capitol Heights Pharmacy can’t keep them on the shelves.
“We got some in last week. Friday, we ended up selling 600 within the business day. We were also limiting how many tests each person was able to take home,” said Carly Callan, a pharmacist at Capitol Heights Pharmacy. “We took the last of the manufacturers inventory on Friday. They were supposed to get more yesterday, on Monday. They haven’t been able to get any more.”
While pharmacies deal with demand, they hope symptomatic searchers don’t bring COVID-19 to them.
“A lot of them are coming in for the tests for travel reasons or they’re seeing their family, so they just want to be safe. But there is still a large handful of people that have symptoms and they’re coming in asking for the test,” said Callan.
Callan says its best if people in need of a rapid test call ahead and ask for curbside pickup if they can get one.