Colorado is spending $16 million to purchase 2 million rapid COVID-19 tests and plans to start sending them to residents for free starting this week.
Why it matters: The new effort is designed to curb the spread of the Delta variant amid a fifth wave of infections that is threatening hospital bed capacity in some areas of the state.
- But the Polis administration's poor track record on testing raises questions about whether this strategy will prove effective.
What to know: The Abbott BinaxNow rapid antigen test shows results within 15 minutes.
- To obtain a test, residents must complete an online form and await instructions via email. The state will send eight tests at a time with more available in subsequent orders.
- For school-age children, officials suggest twice-per-week testing.
- A caveat: At-home rapid tests may not qualify as proof to return to school or work, officials say.
Of note: 100 free testing sites are scattered across the state.
What he’s saying: "The sooner that somebody knows that they have COVID and they are contagious the sooner they can take the steps to self-isolate," Gov. Jared Polis said Tuesday.
Yes, but: Whether tests are easily available remains unknown as manufacturers warn of delays nationwide and President Biden pushes a mass-scale at-home testing strategy.
- State health officials tell Axios Denver the tests will arrive in incremental shipments.
- The state is still seeking reimbursement from the federal government for the initial cost of the at-home tests.
- The new program is funded with federal dollars.
The Polis administration's other effort to boost testing in schools is also struggling to get off the ground.
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