Summit County Community COVID-19 Testing Sites to Close by July

A MAKO medical technician runs a COVID test at the Silverthorne drive-through testing site Friday, November 20, 2020. Summit County public health officials are preparing to close the site April 30, 2022.
Jason Connolly/For the Daily News Summit

As COVID-19 cases remain at lower levels in Summit County than in 2021, local public health officials plan to take a step back.

At a joint meeting of the Summit County Board of Health and county commissioners on Tuesday, April 12, Director of Public Health Amy Wineland said the county hopes to give the private health care system more responsibility for this. regarding the management of the virus.

The county plans to close its community testing sites within the next three months. The first to go will be the site of the Silverthorne Recreation Center, which will close on April 30. Wineland expects the other two sites — Summit County Senior and Community Center in Frisco and Colorado Mountain College Breckenridge — to remain open through June.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment tentatively plans to close the remaining community sites by the end of June, Wineland said.

“We’re really working on transitioning all tests, treatments and vaccinations to the healthcare system, where people need to go if they’re sick or need a vaccine,” she said.

Summit County is now following new measures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which focus more on the overall impact of the virus on the community and less on the number of individual cases.

Wineland said the changes are a result of declining cases and the impact of the pandemic across the state. As virus cases remain a reality, the county is seeing fewer people suffering from serious illness, which means less impact on the county’s overall healthcare system.

Over the past week, the county reported an average of 93.5 new cases per 100,000 population, no new hospital admissions for COVID-19, and just 1.3 inpatient beds occupied with COVID-19 at St. Anthony Summit Hospital. All of these measures place the county in the “low risk” category.

The county’s COVID-19 vaccination rates have also increased in recent weeks. At least 51% of people received a booster dose of the vaccine.

The transition marks a new era of the pandemic, in which people treat COVID-19 more like other common illnesses, Wineland said.

“You don’t go to a parking lot to get tested for strep or for the flu,” she said. “That’s kind of what we’re trying to get away from.”

Once testing sites are closed, people will still be able to access tests from their doctors. The Public Health Department also offers free home testing kits, which can be picked up at the Summit County Public Health Department office (360 Peak One Drive, in Frisco), North County Libraries and South Summit (37 Peak One Drive, in Frisco, and 103 S. Harris St., in Breckenridge), the Family & Intercultural Resource Center (251 W. 4th St., in Silverthorne), and the Community and Senior Center (83 Nancy’s Place , in Frisco).

The county public health department also met with providers on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the changes and ensure they are ready to meet community testing and treatment needs.

Wineland said the transition of responsibilities is trending both statewide and nationally as COVID-19 funding is coming to an end.

Deputy County Executive Sarah Vaine said the local health department’s transition will also allow providers to prepare for more responsibilities.

“The longer we continue to provide these services, the less incentive there is for providers to offer this,” Vaine said. “There’s this tension between encouraging provider networks to do vaccines and testing and backing off on our role.”