NewsLocal News


Steady stream of people seek out last-minute COVID-19 tests Christmas Eve

Water World testing site
Posted at 3:28 PM, Dec 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-24 19:31:51-05

FEDERAL HEIGHTS, Colo. — A steady stream of cars lined up at a Federal Heights COVID-19 testing location Christmas Eve as some sought last-minute tests before similar sites closed for the weekend.

"Our son-in-law tested positive, and our eight-month-old grandbaby is positive," said Laura, whose Christmas plans were canceled by the exposure. "I figured I better get tested."

She was one of multiple people at the Water World location operated by Mako Medical. While some were there to get tested after exposure, others Denver7 spoke with sought tests after showing symptoms.

"I have a cold," Carol said. "I'm concerned about having contact with my family."

The location was one of at least 14 open all day across Colorado, and one of six in the Denver metro, according to the state's health department.

But those hoping to get a result in time for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day gatherings were out of luck.

"They said it would be two to three days," Laura said.

A notice on the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's website warns test results will be delayed for tests administered Dec. 22-31. Anyone who wanted a result by Christmas Eve should've tested no later than Tuesday, Dec. 21. Anyone who wants a result by New Year's Eve should test on or before Monday, Dec. 27.

While at-home COVID-19 tests may be more convenient because they offer a 15-minute turnaround time for a result, they're becoming harder to find. A sign at the entrance of the Walgreens in Denver at Federal and Speer Boulevards warned customers Friday the store was out of stock.

"I went to about three Walgreens and two Walmarts, and I finally found them and I bought three of them yesterday," Laura said. "I spent close to $100, but that's okay. Trying to keep the family safe."

Although her at-home rapid antigen test results came back negative, Laura wanted to be sure by getting a PCR test done. It may push back her Christmas plans, but the silver lining, she says, is that her eight-month-old grandchild won't know the difference.

If you're interested in getting tested for COVID-19, community sites across Colorado will reopen Monday, Dec. 27. Depending on the day, some locations have adjusted their operating hours.