JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – More and more people are lining up to be tested for COVID-19. State numbers show a major rise in hospitalizations and the highest case count since the start of the pandemic.

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At the same time, one testing organization has more demand than capacity. Stride Community Health Center offers testing, at no cost to the patient, at 4 sites spread over Arapahoe, Douglas and Jefferson counties.

As demand increases, the nonprofit is working to increase staff. At Jeffco Stadium Wednesday mid-morning, a normally busy COVID-19 testing site, advertised as open until 1 p.m., was already closed.

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The site, run by Stride, opened at 8 a.m. and hit capacity of 75 tests shortly after. The site also closed early on both Monday and Tuesday.

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“Right now, there is more demand than we have the capacity to serve,” explained Ben Wiederholt, Stride President and CEO.

He said Stride can perform 75 tests per site when all 4 of its sites are open in the metro area. Staffing has been a problem.

“We’re working around the clock to bring on additional staff so we can increase our capacities,” said Wiederholt.

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Wiederholt said testing numbers will increase next week. The company has brought on 10 employees and will add another 12. That should at least double capacity.

That is good news for state health officials.

“We’re concerned about capacity at all levels, right? We are concerned about public health capacity, our healthcare capacity, and that does include our testing capacity. So we have been working diligently in our state to improve access to testing across the state,” said Dr. Rachel Herlihy, State Epidemiologist with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Ninety percent of the people tested by Stride are Medicaid or uninsured.

If you are thinking of going to a Stride-operated testing site, you can register and check for locations and times on their website.

Kathy Walsh