Denver launches free temporary coronavirus testing sites

The sites are located in under-served areas, including places where Black and Latino residents are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

A community testing site for coronavirus at The Center for African American Health on Tuesday, June 9, 2020, in Denver. (Esteban L. Hernandez/Denverite)

A community testing site for coronavirus at The Center for African American Health on Tuesday, June 9, 2020, in Denver. (Esteban L. Hernandez/Denverite)

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

John Reid said he saw cars wrapped around the block on Tuesday morning with drivers waiting for a coronavirus testing site to open at The Center for African American Health in Northeast Park Hil.

“I’ve seen cars that have four people, five people in them,” Reid said. “It’s been mostly African Americans.”

Tuesday marked the first day of a new free testing site at 3350 Hudson St. By about 11 a.m., two hours after it opened, staff said about 90 tests had been administered.

The site is one of five new city-run community coronavirus testing sites providing free tests. The city announced the drive-up testing sites on Monday and said they will focus on targeting under-served communities. The sites are all temporary, however, and will have different hours and open on different days.

The Center for African American Health site provided testing on Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. It will reopen during the same hours on June 23. The city partnered with Denver Public Health and community organizations for the sites.

Dr. Sarah Rowan of Denver Health said Rowan serves as associate director for HIV and hepatitis prevention at Denver Public Health with a team she said usually does community tests and services for those illnesses.

Rowan said results from the community testing sites should be available within 48 hours in most cases. There’s no need to pre-register; people can drive up and get tested.

“The COVID-19 epidemic has really disproportionately impacted certain communities in Denver, and part of the reason for the disparity is access to testing,” Rowan said. “It’s one of the most important we can do to address the disparity.”

The latest figures from Denver Public Health show there are 6,040 COVID-19 cases in Denver, with 295 deaths. Rowan said positive rates and hospitalization in Denver have been decreasing, but she said concerns over a second wave remain.

Black residents represent 10 percent of all cases, though they’re only 8.5 percent of the city’s population. Latino residents continue accounting for the majority of cases in the city, representing 58 percent of positive cases. They make up about 30 percent of the city’s population.

Reid, who serves as Director of Development at the Center, said it was important to offer testing in a community-based setting. Reid said they opened their offices on the Hudson Street campus in January after moving from their initial location in the Clayton neighborhood.

A community testing site for coronavirus at The Center for African American Health on Tuesday, June 9, 2020, in Denver. (Esteban L. Hernandez/Denverite)

A community testing site for coronavirus at The Center for African American Health on Tuesday, June 9, 2020, in Denver. (Esteban L. Hernandez/Denverite)

“Given the impact of COVID on the African-American community, we want to be proactive and making sure that resources get to the community where it’s needed the most,” Reid said.

Other free community testing site and dates:

Montbello High School

Saturday, June 13
5000 Crown Blvd.
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Sam’s Club

Thursday, June 18
7805 E. 35th Ave.
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

New Hope Baptist Church

Saturday, June 20
3701 Colorado Blvd.
9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church

Saturday, June 27
1500 S. Dayton St.
9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

According to the city, additional sites are under consideration. Organizations interested in hosting a free testing site are encouraged to call Denver Public Health at 303-946-7471. The city continues to offer free testing at the Pepsi Center parking lot.

This story has been updated to reflect the correct testing dates. 

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