COVID-19 driving swab site in Colorado Springs, a vivid example of collaboration between the federal government and local entities


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (KKTV) – On Tuesday, 11 News had the opportunity to bring our cameras into the Colorado Springs driving test center for COVID-19.
The site is just one of three like it in the state. The Colorado Springs site is recognized by the White House for its efficient work. The site is located on the UCHealth campus across from Memorial Park.
Since Tuesday, the site has been open to all first responders and state health workers, as well as people 65 and older. 11 News had an exclusive insight inside how the site works and what’s going on inside the tents.
The team of fifteen health professionals begins each day to prepare carefully to get in touch with patients who may have the coronavirus. The people on the front line at the car crossing site actually wipe the patients most at risk.
11 The press photographer asked a question to a phlebotomist, one of the people responsible for the swab, that many people have in mind. Are you afraid of getting it by testing other members of our community?

“I have the impression that with any disease process in health care, you are a little afraid of bringing it home to your loved ones, or you know it,” replied Deborah Guiterrez, Phlebotomist UCHealth. “But in reality, by working in health care, we have been trained to protect ourselves. “
The swabs are collected and then piled up to go to the test facility itself.
“What we do is no test,” said Nick Stremble, director of Memorial Central ER. “You just have to take samples to send them for testing.
On Monday, the test site treated around 400 people who needed to be buffered. UCHealth does not work alone in this area, the site is currently supervised by the United States Health Service.
“Communities work very well together,” said Lt. Kyle Barrackman with the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corp. “The partnerships are strong and this is a very effective test site here in El Paso County. “
As the site’s link between government and local entities, Lisa Powell has a big job. Powell is the public health emergency manager for public health in El Paso County.
“There is a lot of pressure on everyone honestly to get equipment, to get test kits, to get this process in place,” added Powell.

But so far, the site has had no problem collecting samples as they take up the challenge. The site is recognized by the White House for its efficiency in collecting samples. They tell us that this particular site has shown that local and federal staff can get together during a difficult time.
According to a White House official, the supplies the El Paso County test site received from the federal government included thousands of test pads and surgical gloves; hundreds of N-95 respirators, surgical gowns and Tyvek coveralls; and a significant amount of other medical supplies and personal protective equipment. This is part of the federal government’s broad support for state-run and locally run test sites across the country to expand our COVID-19 testing capacity and keep Americans safe.
An El Paso County MP was able to get back to work this week after being tested positive for COVID-19 after it was collected at the swab site. As frightening as the coronavirus pandemic is, the vast majority of people who contract the virus recover after a week or two of rest.

“Nine in ten will not need medical intervention. There is nothing we can do but tell you to stay home and isolate yourself. There is no medical difference, “Governor Jared Polis repeatedly told the audience.
El Paso County MP David Fisher is one of the Coloradans who contracted and cured the COVID-19 virus. He shared his story with 11 News.
“It was a Monday, I left my post and I started to have a very bad headache, which is rather unusual for me. I checked my temperature and everything was fine.
“The next morning, around 7 am, I woke up, I had a fever of 102, a dry cough and I started to feel quite short of breath as I climbed the stairs. I went for a test that day and by the time I got home I was extremely tired. for the next three days, I couldn’t really get off the couch. Meanwhile, I had a really bad body ache with the fever. I was having trouble breathing; walking made me feel like I was running a marathon. “
After the third day, Fisher stated that his fever had dropped, increased again briefly on the fifth day, and then dropped. His fever returned once more before shaking it off definitively.
“After that, it calmed down a bit; I no longer had a fever, I just had a cough. After about 14 days, just a slight cough. I returned to work after having no symptoms for more than 72 hours. “
Fisher said he was still healing – “My mile run has decreased by about two minutes – but he is feeling better every day. The experience, he told 11 News, was worse than any cold or flu he had contracted before.
“Certainly a very different experience from the one I have never had before.
His advice to others:
“Just listen to your body, if something is wrong … I just woke up and knew something was wrong. Stay at home, wear a mask, follow these orders of social distancing in public, and limit public downtime – limit the spread of this. “
COVID-19 is a highly contagious disease that must be taken seriously. As we know all too well, it has been fatal in 150 cases and counts, including an El Paso county MP who died last week, and nearly 1,000 Coloradans have been hospitalized. Social distancing and respecting the order to stay at home are essential at this time to slow – and ultimately end – this epidemic.
But it is also important to remember that for most people who contract the virus, the experience will be much more similar to that of Fisher. Most Coloradans who fall ill will also get better.
The state has yet to release data on the number of people who have recovered from COVID-19. We will communicate these figures if and when they are published.


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