Colorado health officials turn people away from drive-up coronavirus testing site in Denver because of high demand

The state urged people with symptoms and people who believe they have been exposed to the novel coronavirus to ask their doctor about getting swabs analyzed by private providers.

Cars line up as people wait to be tested at the Colorado Department of Health and Environment's COVID-19 testing station in Lowry. March 11, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Cars line up as people wait to be tested at the Colorado Department of Health and Environment's COVID-19 testing station in Lowry. March 11, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photos

The drive-up COVID-19 testing lab opened yesterday in Lowry was too packed Thursday to serve everyone in line, prompting state health officials to turn people away.

At 11 a.m., one hour after the lab opened, the wait time was three hours. The site at 8100 E. Lowry Blvd. is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. People in line for testing must show health workers a doctor’s note confirming that they meet the testing criteria set by state officials. Results will be relayed within 72 hours, but that timeline depends on volume. It’s free and no proof of insurance is required.

Health officials will create a cutoff point in line. Those on the wrong side of that cutoff will get first preference tomorrow when the lab reopens, the Colorado Department of Health and Environment said in a statement.

The state urged people with symptoms and people who believe they have been exposed to the novel coronavirus to ask their doctor about getting swabs analyzed by private labs that now have the capacity to complete testing.

More than 160 people were tested at the Lowry lab yesterday, with people waiting about 84 minutes on average, state health officials said.

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