Denver’s free coronavirus testing site will close daily after administering 2,000 tests

You’ll be able to see how many tests have been completed that day online before you head out.

Michael Odom (left) and Takahiro Beachum, employees of Denver Police's crime lab, work a new mass testing facility for COVID-19 at the Pepsi Center. May 21, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Michael Odom (left) and Takahiro Beachum, employees of Denver Police's crime lab, work a new mass testing facility for COVID-19 at the Pepsi Center. May 21, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

The city’s free testing site at the Pepsi Center will close after administering 2,000 tests each day moving forward to help avoid delays in getting test results, Department of Safety spokesperson Kelli Christensen said Tuesday.

Christensen said the site closed early on Tuesday due to increased demand. The gates were closed to additional cars at 12:30 p.m., marking the second time in as many weeks that the site closed early. Last week, the city said the site closed early due to a shortage in testing kits.

To help avoid long lines, the city will update its website to show daily testing numbers.

“They can check the (web)site and see if they want to make the trip out there and see if they want to wait another day,” Christensen said.

The site tested 2,097 people on Tuesday. Since opening May 22, the site has completed 40,065 tests. She said about a third of those tested reported being asymptomatic.

Christensen said some people waited up to 90 minutes to get tested on Tuesday. By noon, she said the site had done 1,500 tests. Closing the gates meant everyone waiting in line could still be tested, but no additional cars would be allowed in once they closed.

Denver Post reporter Jessica Seaman said on Twitter some people seeking the tests were turned away Tuesday. Christensen said she didn’t have details about how many people sought testing but weren’t able to get a test done.

Christensen noted the increase on Tuesday may have been due to the site being closed from Friday to Monday because of the holiday and the mandatory city furlough day. She said demand may have also increased as people considered getting tested after increased exposure to others during the Fourth of July weekend.

Limiting the tests will help people get test results in more “timely fashion,” Christensen said, noting she’s heard from people who have been waiting as long as eight days to get results. She said the results are supposed to be available closer to three to four days after testing.

The site will continue to be open daily starting at 8 a.m. and until the 2,000-test threshold is met. The site was formally open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with gates usually closing at 4:30 p.m.

Christensen said the Pepsi Center site has a 3 percent positivity rate. For comparison, the state positivity rate is currently 4.9 percent, which is lower than the national rate of 7.8 percent, according to data compiled by John Hopkins University.

The city has 7,369 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 321 deaths, according to data from Denver Public Health. The data shows the rate at which new cases are diagnosed has seen an increase in cases in Denver between mid-June to the first week of July.

This story has been updated to clarify Christensen’s quote. 

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