Governor Tom Wolf via Flickr CC BY 2.0

We need to come together in a bold and immediate way to get more tests to the people that need them

The virus is spreading widely in Colorado and across the country. And, unfortunately, most states lack the testing plan and resources that public health experts say we must have to suppress the virus and get it under control enough to safely return to some semblance of our normal lives. The amount of COVID-19 testing happening in Colorado steadily increased in recent months. 

The scorecard below displays a grade for current testing capacity as compared to the testing capacity and resources public health experts say we must have to suppress the virus and get it under control .

TESTING GRADE AS OF PERCENT TOWARD GOAL AS OF
TESTING GRADE AS OF PERCENT TOWARD GOAL AS OF

At the time of our review in early December, was administering tests per 100,000 people (7 day moving avg.) as compared to a goal of administering tests per 100,000 people (7 day moving avg.). Currently only a handful of states — Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont — and Washington, D.C. are close to or exceeding their state's testing goals.

Source: testing model from the Brown School of Public Health and the Harvard Global Health Institute.

We need action now

We all hope for a vaccine, but it could be several months before a safe vaccine is available and widely distributed. More than 300,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, and we’ll lose many more without swift action. The truly tragic part of the pandemic is that most of these deaths were avoidable if we had done things right the first time. But we can’t let the mistakes of the past dictate how we respond to this pandemic today. It is time for bold, coordinated and immediate action.

Drive-through testing location in Pennsylvania
Photo by Senior Airman Wilfredo Acosta
Test more, save lives

It's good that Colorado has ramped up its testing capacity, but robust testing is only fully effective as part of a larger public health strategy. That’s why we’re calling on Gov. Polis to take three steps that will save Coloradans' lives and set us up to reopen safely.

  • First, he should get cases down quickly by closing non-essential businesses, issuing a temporary stay-at-home order, and enforcing mask wearing.
  • Second, he should commit to consistently hitting the suppression level testing target laid out in the Brown University School of Public Health's model. He should also ensure a 48 hour turnaround of all COVID tests. This is the amount of testing and response time health experts say we need to get the virus under control and prevent outbreaks.
  • And lastly, he should reopen slowly and only after hitting public health benchmarks.

The governor can take actions now that will help fix many of the problems that have prevented most states from being able to tackle this crisis in the face of federal inaction. Our recommendations include:

  • Increasing test purchasing power by joining a consortium with other governors, similar to the one started by Gov. Larry Hogan in Maryland and the National Governors Association.
  • Borrowing best practices from other states, specifically by increasing testing locations, drive thru testing sites, walk up sites, and mobile testing units that focus on testing higher-risk settings such as churches, nursing homes, meat-packing factories and schools.
  • Launching a state-sponsored educational campaign so that people know when they should get a test, where they can get tested, and how.
  • Breaking down barriers to testing, ensuring that anyone who needs a test can get a test.
  • Targeting testing efforts in high-risk settings such as nursing homes, meat-packing facilities, schools and prisons.

If we get cases down now, and consistently exceed our testing targets in Colorado and across the country, we can get some pieces of our lives back.

Use the dropdown menu below to get links to testing locations and resources in your state.

ADDITIONAL NOTES: Testing available for anyone who lives or works in Indiana

ADDITIONAL NOTES: Some sites will test anyone, even without symptoms.

ADDITIONAL NOTES: No map is provided. Consumers are told to call the county or tribal health department for information about testing