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El Paso County Health Department to Thanksgiving travelers: ’You most likely had exposure to COVID’

Drivers line up at the COVID-19 testing site at the Citadel Mall in Colorado Springs
Drivers line up at the COVID-19 testing site at the Citadel Mall in Colorado Springs(KKTV)
Published: Nov. 30, 2020 at 9:17 PM MST
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Doctors at El Paso County Public Health are warning Thanksgiving travelers and others who gathered with people outside of their household that they were likely exposed to COVID-19. They recommend anyone who is exposed to COVID-19 should act like they are infected and go get tested.

“In this time when we have such a burden of disease, increasing your number of contacts increases the likelihood that you’ve come in contact with somebody with COVID. So, we would recommend that quarantine,” said Dr. Robin Johnson, medical director at El Paso County Public Health.

Our 11 News crew spotted long lines at testing sites in Colorado Springs and Pueblo on Monday. The rush follows a record day for travel during the pandemic. According to data from the Transportation Security Administration, 1.17 million people passed through TSA checkpoints Sunday. It’s the highest single-day number since March.

Johnson says we will have to wait to see the consequences from the holiday week. She says there is concern we will see a “stacked surge” on top of what we are experiencing now. She warns this surge is unlike any other before.

“The surges that occurred last spring or over the summer, they have typically been state-by-state. So, it has been a few regions, but not the full nation. So, this will be a whole new kind of test on our resources and our willpower in our ability to take on that personal responsibility,” said Dr. Johnson.

According to data from CDPHE, more than 1,800 people are hospitalized in Colorado. It’s another record-setting day in our state.

Health experts warn it will likely get worse.

“It’s absolutely imperative that each person take this seriously,” Johnson said. “I would anticipate that we are going to see this through January, and potentially into February if we’re not careful.”

Johnson says Thanksgiving travelers should get a COVID-19 test within five to seven days, but don’t see a negative result as a free pass. She describes a single COVID-19 test as a “snapshot in time.” The health department recommends quarantining for a full two weeks if you are concerned about exposure.

“At the end of the two weeks you can release yourself if you’re asymptomatic or get one final test to reassure that on the 14th day you’re done,” said Dr. Johnson.

There are several drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites in El Paso County. The locations are listed below:

Fountain:

6436 US Highway 85-87 (Formerly known as the Beckett Event Center)

Fountain pre-registration information.

Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Falcon/Peyton:

The Falcon/Peyton testing site has moved to 12072 Royal County Down Road, Falcon (Behind Falcon Fire Station 1)

Falcon pre-registration information.

Tuesday and Thursday 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.

North Colorado Springs:

2070 Interquest Pkwy (PPCC Rampart Range Campus, southeast of the campus)

North Colorado Springs pre-registration information.

Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Citadel Mall Testing Site:

Located at the Citadel Mall in the parking lot just south of JCPenney 750 Citadel Dr. E

Citadel pre-registration information.

Monday - Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

For more information on COVID-19 testing in El Paso County. Click here.

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