By late January, COVID test samples will be processed at a laboratory in the freshly-painted building at 695 Buggy Circle. Courtesy photo

Staff Report

The Free COVID-19 Testing Roaring Fork Valley service that operates 10 locations in the Roaring Fork Valley and surrounding cities will soon offer same day results on all testing.

The service, in collaboration with MicroGenDx, a company specializing in low-cost, FDA authorized, highly accurate qPCR + NGS microbial diagnostics, has set up a local lab processing center in Carbondale that will open in late January 2022. In the past two weeks, the local Valley service has seen a fivefold increase in the number of clients testing, as the Omicron variant and the local positivity rate surge.

Local medical director for the free testing service, Dr. Brooke Allen, collaborated with MicroGenDx to bring the PCR processing center to the mid-Valley location, so that reliable PCR results can be seen within hours. “It’s important to us that our services continue to be free and available to everyone. And it’s extraordinary that the leadership at MicroGenDx has agreed to bring in a local center where all testing conducted at the testing tents can be run in large volumes the same day at no extra cost. There is really nothing like it outside of big cities.” 

Clients will soon be able to give a sputum/saliva sample at one of the existing 10 testing tents and receive their COVID-19 PCR result by later that afternoon. “We will have the capacity to run several hundreds of tests per day with same day results by late January,” according to Dr. Allen.

Currently, the site ships all client samples for processing, yielding results for clients in 36-48 hours. “Being able to identify COVID-19 sooner on a larger scale will result in significant reduction of viral spread in our community.”

The Free COVID Testing service is a collaboration with state and local community partners dedicated to providing increased access to testing without a doctor’s visit. All tests are free to the public through an agreement with the state of Colorado. MicroGenDx has agreed to provide large volume processing locally at no extra cost to the state of Colorado.

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