Denver to open a third drive-up COVID-19 testing site as demand surges

Denver public health officials plan to open a third COVID-19 testing site on Tuesday, a day after one of the city’s other locations saw such high demand people were asked to come back later in the day.

The new free testing site will be at Denver Human Services East, at 3815 Steele St.

On Monday, a long line of cars snaked around Paco Sanchez Park as residents sought to get tested for the novel coronavirus, leading Denver public health officials to ask those planning to get tested to wait until the afternoon or to go to another location.

The Paco Sanchez site wasn’t accepting more people until those already in line were tested for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Residents were encouraged to come back to the location after 2 p.m., when city officials expected the line to go down, said Tammy Vigil, spokeswoman for Denver Public Health and Environment.

Just before 8:30 a.m., the line of vehicles at Paco Sanchez stretched from 1290 Knox Court, where the testing occurs, to Federal Boulevard. The wait time to get tested was at least an hour.

Vigil said the high demand for COVID-19 testing was due to a Monday morning rush.

The high demand also comes as Colorado is seeing an increase in new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. Last week, Denver moved to the state’s second-highest level of COVID-19 restrictions, which means most businesses are to operate at a quarter of capacity.

Denver’s free, drive-thru testing site at the Pepsi Center closed at the end of September. In its place, the city has opened smaller community testing sites in an effort to target the spread of the disease in neighborhoods where infection rates are high and to make free testing more accessible those hit hardest by the pandemic.

In addition to the Paco Sanchez site, residents can also get tested at Green Valley Ranch Pool, which is located at 4455 Jebel St. in Denver. The site is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Officials in Arapahoe County have also opened a new free, COVID-19 testing site at Centennial Center Park, 13050 E. Peakview Ave. in Centennial. The center, which launched Monday, is open between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.

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