Update: 1st 100 cars only.

Members of the National Guard and Colorado Department of Public Health will begin arriving in Chaffee County this weekend to assist local health officials in administering tests for COVID-19.

Testing for the virus, which can cause symptoms of respiratory illness, will occur this Saturday, March 21 at the Chaffee County Fairgrounds between noon and 4 p.m., Chaffee County Public Health director Andrea Carlstrom said in a news release Thursday.

The tests will be administered in a drive-up format "for Chaffee County residents who are symptomatic, fit specific criteria and have a doctor’s order for the test.," Carlstrom said.

"Chaffee County Public Health and Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center are working to identify and contact appropriate patients," Carlstrom said. "If you are experiencing a cough, fever or shortness of breath, call your provider to discuss testing possibilities and details.

"This event will not take drive-up requests without a doctor’s orders," she said.

The CDPHE has said that it can test 40 people an hour.

"Please anticipate long wait times," Carlstrom said.

As of the morning of March 19, Chaffee County has no positive cases of COVID-19. According to the county public health office, 62 have been tested, 22 have tested negative for the virus, and 40 tests are still pending.

According the the state department of health report on the virus, the neighboring counties of Pitkin and Gunnison have among the highest rates of positive cases in the state per 100,000 people, as does nearby Eagle County, which has the most confirmed cases outside of Denver.

Eagle County has 39 confirmed cases, while Pitkin and Gunnison each have 11.

Statewide, 216 positive cases have been confirmed in Colorado across 20 counties. Twenty-six people have been hospitalized and two have died.

From our sister paper The Chaffee County Times at www.chaffeecountytimes.com

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