Besides washing our hands, wearing masks, and practicing social distancing, one of the most important things DIHFS can do to protect ourselves and the communities we serve is to contribute to the surveillance of COVID-19. What does that mean? In large part, it means identifying people who are positive carriers of the virus known as Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). There is still so much we DO NOT know about this disease. It is important to track, trace contacts of people infected, and follow their progression of the disease. This is surveillance in a nutshell.
Early identification allows us to provide education to infected individuals to prevent spreading the disease to family, friends, co-workers, and anyone else they may come into contact with while they are ill. It gives us an early warning system for potential areas of the community that have high numbers of cases, so-called HOT SPOTS. Early identification also gives us data that we can use to plan for managing the current pandemic and predicting what this virus may have in store for us in the future.
DIHFS is contributing to this task of surveillance for both the state of Colorado and the Indian Health Service by offering COVID-19 testing. This drive-up testing site is using a deep nasal swab to check for active COVID-19 infection. This version of the test can only tell us if someone is shedding the virus at the time of testing. It will not identify someone who may have had the virus in the past and has recovered from it.
DIHFS has partnered with Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Parker, CO to provide testing. Tests are being done by appointment only on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons to registered DIHFS patients. The drive-up testing site is located at the DIHFS clinic, at 2880 W. Holden Place in Denver. The process is easy, simply call the clinic at 303-953-6600 and ask to be scheduled for testing. You will come to the clinic and be screened by the students of Rocky Vista University, who are supervised by the DIHFS medical staff. DIHFS staff can answer some of your questions at the time of testing and will help you understand what your results mean when they are available. The results generally take 3-4 days and a member of the clinic staff will call you with the results as soon as they are available. We recommend everyone having symptoms of COVID-19, especially fever, chills, body aches, and shortness of breath to get tested as soon as possible. If someone believes they have been exposed to COVID-19 through an infected person, they are encouraged to get tested as well.
DIHFS is proud to offer these tests and grateful to both the Rocky Vista University students and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment lab for helping us protect the patients and families of the DIHFS community.
Karen Hoffman, APN-BC
Adult Nurse Practitioner
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