Telluride Med Center: Offering Covid-19 Tests to All!

Telluride Med Center: Offering Covid-19 Tests to All!

Effective immediately, healthcare providers at the Telluride Regional Medical Center can issue diagnostic COVID-19 tests to any patient requesting one, regardless of symptoms. To make an appointment for a PCR diagnostic COVID-19 test visit for step- by-step instructions.

The new open protocol for testing  t the Telluride Medical Center is made possible by both a secure supply of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) diagnostic tests and the CDC’s latest guidelines which allow for testing of asymptomatic people.

“We really want to encourage people to get tested — it’s the best way for our community to use the resources available and for us to better understand the prevalence of disease in our community,” said Dr. Christine Mahoney, acting primary care director.

Dr. Christine Mahoney

Testing eligibility for asymptomatic patients

• Visit for information and next steps
• Individuals must be an existing patient, or register as a new patient
• Patients of any age can be tested
• Patients are required to schedule a follow up consultation (either via telehealth, over the phone, or in some cases in person) to receive test results

Diagnostic testing, according to Dr. Mahoney, could be a tool utilized to slow infection rates if used with certain precision and paired with good social distancing and hygiene practices.

“For example, if you’re making plans to have extended close contact with a vulnerable person, such as someone over 65 years-old, those who are immunocompromised or who have severe heart, kidney or lung disease, you could time the visit around, and make it contingent upon, negative results,” said Mahoney.

Anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms — fever, cough, shortness of breath, malaise, headache, diarrhea — should call the Medical Center for a phone triage with a nurse to determine a plan for an exam, testing and/or self-isolation.

PCR Diagnostic Testing & Results

Either a nasal swab or saliva sample will be gathered from asymptomatic patients in a safe environment with appropriate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) for the patient and healthcare provider. The sample will then be sent to a lab, with results typically available in 3 to 5 business days. Patients will be given results during a follow up consultation with their primary care provider.

A positive PCR test means the individual currently has COVID-19, and even if the individual is not experiencing symptoms, they may be shedding the disease, and therefore contagious.

PCR tests can yield false-negative results 20-30 percent of the time, meaning some people who receive a negative result may actually have the infection. It is for this reason that healthcare providers recommend symptomatic patients (with fever, cough, shortness of breath) continue to avoid contact with others, even if they have received a negative test result.

PCR tests yield a false-negative result in closer to 30 percent of tests given to asymptomatic patients.

Cost & Financial Support

“Anyone who wants a test should have the opportunity” said Dr. Mahoney. “We have funds and a process to remove cost as a barrier.”

Costs associated with PCR testing include $25 for lab collection, $100-125 for the tests and additional costs, determined on the level of care required and associated with the required follow up consultation with a provider.

Insurance coverage varies.

Financial support for under/uninsured patients is available and can be discussed when the appointment for testing is scheduled. You can donate to the COVID-19 Telluride Medical Center Fund here.

Antibody, Antigen and Rapid PCR Testing

The Telluride Regional Medical Center continues to examine additional options, which may include antibody, antigen testing and rapid PCR tests.

“Updates will be forthcoming and patients can expect that as reliable and rapid tests are made available we’ll offer those options,” said Mahoney.

Coronavirus Testing Offered by Employers

The Medical Center is now inviting local employers to contact them to discuss ways to offer PCR COVID-19 testing to employees. Contact Reva Saunders for more information (970.728.3848) or

Social Distancing, Best Practices and the Vast, Great Outdoors

Colorado Public Health Orders aim to reduce disease transmission and include avoiding unnecessary interactions whenever possible, complying with social distancing requirements — wearing a face mask, maintaining physical distancing, and keeping group sizes to no more than 10 people — and staying home or in the great outdoors as much as possible.

As the restrictions and public orders loosen, the staff at the Medical Center expects to see more cases of COVID-19.

“We’re finally entering a phase of the pandemic where we have the ability to test anyone who wants a PCR diagnostic test. And I’m thrilled,” said Dr. Mahoney.

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