AURORA | A new COVID-19 testing center, similar to the operation at the Pepsi Center in Denver, opened in Aurora Monday.
The free drive-up testing site is located at the Aurora Sports Park, open seven days a week.
Gov. Jared Polis attended the opening and said expansion of the free and easy testing centers like the new one in Aurora are critical to helping keep virus transmission in check.
“It’s free, it’s easy and it’s rapid,” Mayor Mike Coffman said, moments before being tested himself.
Coffman has been hinting at an Aurora site for weeks, although it was anticipated the site would be at the Town Center at Aurora mall, across from city hall.
The new site, located at 19300 E. Colfax Ave., will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. The tests are free and available to anybody who wishes to be tested.
Another site will open at Water World in Federal Heights later today. Polis said there will be “several” similar testing sites open within a few weeks.
People don’t have to show symptoms of the virus, which has killed 1,736 people and hospitalized more than 6,000 in Colorado, to receive the test.
The site is the result of local, county and state coordination. The city is providing the
“location as well as logistical, communications and funding support via the state of Colorado, Arapahoe CARES dollars and the city of Aurora for a community-based, drive-up COVID-19 testing site,” according to a city news release.
North Carolina-based MAKO Medical is staffing and managing the testing site with support from the state health department.
The new site in Aurora comes amid concerns about testing across the country.
An Associated Press analysis found testing has overall decreased about 3.6% over the past two weeks. 22 states have seen testing waning.
Part of the reason testing has been sliding, experts say, is due to a significant backlog.
Some Coloradans said they were waiting up to two weeks for test results. Polis said that was “useless” in the fight to contain the virus. On July 23 he announced the state would no longer rely on national laboratories to run tests and would instead increase and diversify its own lab capacity.
MAKO Labs is one of the partners Polis said the state had developed to increase the number of tests the state runs each day.
“It would have been nice to have a national coordinated strategy, but we ain’t gonna wait for it,” Polis said during a news conference regarding the state’s new direction in testing.