DENVER — Several community COVID-19 testing sites in the Denver area reached capacity Sunday following the Christmas holiday.
A long line of cars greeted those wanting to get tested at the site located at Front Range Community College in Westminster. The Colorado Department of Public Health of Environment said the site saw more patients than normal Sunday.
The CDPHE said they spoke with Mako, the vendor responsible for the site at Front Range Community College, and they told them they saw a high number of walk-up patients, which caused the longer than usual wait times.
Other sites, including one at Sky Ridge Medical Center in Douglas County, were not able to accommodate the number of patients waiting to get tested. The Sky Ridge site reached capacity hours before they stopped testing.
While sites do accommodate walk-ups, the CDPHE recommends that patients register in advance. You can find a testing site online and register here.
In-home COVID-19 test kits are also hard to come by in stores and online.
Fueling the surging demand for tests is a mix of factors, including families seeking to keep holiday gatherings safe and people needing to prove they are virus-free for travel, work or school.
Adding to the pressure is the extra-contagious omicron variant. It has a multiplying effect on the number of people seeking tests after being exposed to an infected person.
“I think everybody's worried,” said Dr. Carrie Horn, the chief medical officer at National Jewish Health. “The cases in Colorado are definitely going up. And I think some of that is omicron. And some of that is kind of people starting to gather and having increased chance to spread.”
Colorado COVID-19 cases were on the decline until mid-December. Now, they are ticking back up. Medical officials say that although testing might take a while for patients waiting in line, it is crucial for slowing the spread.
“I think that's great that people are still willing to go wait in line and get tested because it's really important to know what's going on," Horn said. “That does mean that people are taking it seriously and paying attention.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report