White House sends 50,000 COVID-19 tests to Colorado over wildfires

The White House sent 50,000 additional COVID-19 tests to Colorado in the past week to support increased testing needs resulting from recent wildfires.

The tests are BinaxNOW rapid point-of-care tests, providing results in 15 minutes.

“We are sparing no effort or expense to save millions of American lives,” White House spokesman Michael Bars said. “Approximately (1.75 million) of the rapid tests are already allocated by the administration to protect the health and safety of the people of Colorado.”

The two largest wildfires in Colorado’s history are burning miles from each other, prompting thousands of evacuations and nonstop response from firefighters and other first responders.

The Cameron Peak fire has burned 208,663 acres and was at 64% containment. The East Troublesome fire has burned 192,560 acres and was at 15% containment. Firefighters got a break Sunday and Monday as snow slowed the blazes.

On Oct. 21, 25,000 tests were sent for additional testing and to replace any effected tests from the wildfires. The state requested another 25,000 tests on Saturday that were sent immediately.

“We continue harnessing the full power of the federal government in an unprecedented, groundbreaking effort to deliver a safe and effective vaccine and treatments to market in record time,” Bars said.

Several COVID-19 outbreaks have been connected to Colorado firefighting this season.

At least 45 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in connection to Cameron Peak firefighting, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

There are also active outbreaks within fire departments in Colorado Springs, Granby and Westminster totaling 13 probable cases as of Wednesday.


By: Hannah Metzger

Colorado Springs Gazette