COVID-19 testing continues at medical facilities in Pagosa

Testing for COVID-19 continues at area medical facilities.

Pagosa Medical Group (PMG) has expanded testing criteria for COVID-19 to include symptomatic patients of all ages. Recent tests have had a three-to-four day turnaround time for results.

According to Dr. David Shaeffer, no one will be turned away who needs a test. Thanks to community donors, tests are available for people who cannot afford it. 

If you are sick with respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) and/or fever, you must follow this protocol in order to be tested:

• Text PMG at (970) 372-0456 and request a test by stating why you meet testing criteria.
• PMG will call you when they are ready for you.
• When you get the call, you must drive to the back of the PMG building located at 27B Talisman Dr. Unit 3 and park in front of the lab entrance.
• You must stay in your car at all times; the lab technician will come to you.
• Because you will be considered a Person Under Investigation (PUI) you must verbally commit to isolating yourself at home until your test results are available or until seven days have passed since your symptoms started and you have been without symptoms or fever for three days.
• Have prepayment ready. At this time, there is no way to bill your insurance company for the test. The insurance companies have not yet started paying. This is a national problem, which should change soon. You will have to pre-pay $99 at the time of testing with cash, check or credit card number/expiration date. Checks should be made out to Cedar Diagnostics. PMG will not be profiting from any of this testing.

If anybody has the means and wants to “pay it forward,” PMG will apply donations to test people that cannot afford it.

These tests will not be going to the state lab, so PMG will not be interfering with tests for hospitalized patients across the state of Colorado. This is an FDA-approved RT-PCR test.

These changes in testing are due to increasing national testing capacity and PMG acquiring additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) thanks to community donations. Additional PPE is still needed. Plus, more swabs and viral transport media are available.

According to Shaeffer, PMG is working to be ahead of the game in Archuleta County. 

“We have a positive case in Archuleta County and we are committed to keeping this pandemic to a minimum in our community,” he explained. “Testing and social distancing is the cornerstone of pandemic mitigation. The sooner we know how much disease is in our community, the sooner we can all go back to work, school and play.”

Pagosa Springs Medical Center

Free COVID-19 drive-through testing will be offered as a collaboration by San Juan Basin Public Health, Pagosa Springs Medical Center, and Archuleta County and its agency response partners on Tuesday, March 31, from noon-4 p.m. at Pagosa Springs Medical Center at 95 S. Pagosa Blvd.

The following community members qualify:
• Persons who have a doctor’s order (see below).
• Persons who are symptomatic (e.g., fever, cough, difficulty breathing).
• Persons who are adults over the age of 60 or have underlying medical conditions (e.g., heart or lung disease, diabetes, or immunocompromised conditions) or are first responders, or are healthcare or long-term care workers.

To get an appointment slot for the drive-through testing, call your doctor/provider to obtain an order (if you do not have a provider, please call PSMC at 731-3700 to get a telephone appointment to speak to a provider).
Once you have a doctor’s order, call Archuleta County Central Call Center at (970) 422-7084 to arrange a time slot for a test.
Be at Pagosa Springs Medical Center at your appointment time. There will be persons in the parking lot at Pagosa Springs Medical Center directing the flow of testing. You will remain in your vehicle for testing (it is possible there could be some wait time so all should have used the bathroom in advance and have desired water/snack in his/her vehicle).

This story was posted on March 29, 2020.