UCHealth will soon open a drive-through specimen-collection center at The Ranch Events Complex in Loveland for individuals to be tested for COVID-19.
The northern Colorado collection center, which will open Nov. 9, will be operating in the West Pavilion. It will be open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Patients should enter The Ranch via the north entrance off of Fairgrounds Avenue (Larimer County Road 5) and follow signs to the testing area.
The new collection center is ideal for wintertime testing operations because patients will be able to drive through the West Pavilion, where they and staff will be better protected from below-freezing temperatures, snow and ice in the upcoming months. It also will serve as a convenient regional location for UCHealth to serve patients from both Larimer and Weld County.
With the opening of this new site, UCHealth will close the drive-through center that has been operating at Medical Center of the Rockies. It will close at 2 p.m. Nov. 8.
The criteria for UCHealth testing has recently been updated. At this time, UCHealth’s COVID-19 tests are only available for people with a provider’s order (including a required test for a scheduled surgery) or who are experiencing symptoms including fever, shortness of breath or new cough.
All patients who want a nasal swab test at a UCHealth testing site must have either an order for testing or an appointment before they arrive at the testing site. Those who do not have an appointment or order will have to return to the site after they are able to obtain one. The only exceptions will be for health care workers, who can get tested at all of UCHealth’s drive-through centers, and U.S. Forest Service firefighters, who can be tested at the new center at The Ranch.
To schedule an appointment, those with symptoms should go to uchealth.org or their My Health Connection app if they have an account.
Hours at the new center are subject to change. The latest hours are available on the website. Patients also should plan ahead as wait times could vary.
The cost for the COVID-19 PCR (nasal swab) test is $85. Most health insurance plans will cover the cost of testing, but patients are encouraged to check with their health insurance plan for coverage details.
At this time, UCHealth is able to process most tests in about 48-72 hours, but if Colorado sees a large increase in demand for tests, these turnaround times could increase.
“We are seeing rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in northern Colorado and across the state. While we don’t know for sure what the next couple months will have in store, we do know that testing will continue to play a significant factor in managing this pandemic,” said Grace Taylor, vice president of operations at UCHealth’s Medical Center of the Rockies and Poudre Valley Hospital. “To date, we have conducted more than 45,000 COVID-19 tests in northern Colorado alone. We are excited to open the new center because it will help us continue to serve our community throughout the winter season.”
Because prevention is still the best defense against COVID-19, UCHealth urges Coloradans to continue to protect themselves and others through frequent handwashing, physically distancing from others, wearing masks and avoiding gatherings of more than five people at a time.
UCHealth also advises that if you think you may have symptoms of COVID-19, you should immediately isolate at home. Quarantine there for at least 14 days. If you need help from your medical provider, call your primary care provider or set up a Virtual Urgent Care visit to be evaluated and to determine if testing is necessary. Those who experience an emergency medical condition, should call 911.