JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – If you wondered how in-demand COVID-19 tests are in the Denver metro area, the scene at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds Sunday is a clear indication. Car after car, the line for coronavirus testing at the new Jefferson County Fairgrounds grew beyond capacity on its first day of operation.
“I’m getting tested just so I can spend Thanksgiving with my mom,” said Alyssa Norton who was waiting in her car for a test.
Sam Gallagher, who was just a few cars behind Norton, said, “Just making sure that we are COVID-19 free.”
Hundreds of cars filed into the fairgrounds, all with an appointment.
“Just about an hour so far,” said Gallagher of the time he waited.
“Just a little over and hour. It’s okay,” said Norton.
— Michael Abeyta (@AbeytaCBS4) November 22, 2020
The Jefferson County Health Department, which manages the site, says at least 2,000 tests can be performed daily. Residents perform the test themselves by swabbing their mouth.
Results are expected to take at least two days.
The site was scheduled to be open until 4 p.m., but due to overwhelming turnout, they closed the gates at around noon.
“(I’m) very glad we got in. We got here like 15 minutes early, but they warned us about a two hour wait when we got here,” said Gallagher.
People who didn’t receive a test were told to come back Monday morning at 7 a.m. While some were frustrated they had to wait or come back, most were just grateful the county could provide this service.
“I think it’s great. It’s been really hard to find a facility that has COVID testing. Even though the line is two hours long, it’s just nice to get it out of the way and have it be free and without insurance,” said Gallaher.
Jeffco Public Health says they had already tested around 300 people, and 500 more vehicles were still in line when they decided to close. They say they are adjusting the staff, time and logistics for demand.
The department issued a statement to Sunday’s early closing:
“The extreme demand seen at the Jeffco test site illustrates the growing concern and need for disease prevention and mitigation steps as COVID-19 continues to have a serious foothold in our community. We apologize to those who pre-registered for appointments and encourage all people who need to be tested, either because they are symptomatic or because they believe they have been exposed to COVID-19, to return to either the Jefferson County Fairgrounds testing site or another community testing location in the coming days. The Fairgrounds will reopen for testing tomorrow at 7 a.m. with anticipated high demand once again.”
Residents are encouraged to register and make an appointment.
The site will be closed on Thanksgiving, but typical hours of operation are as follows:
Monday 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Tuesday 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Wednesday 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Thursday 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Friday 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Saturday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sunday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
In addition to the testing site at the fairgrounds, there will be a mobile COVID-19 testing van providing free testing at several locations in mountain communities throughout Jefferson County as well as neighboring counties:
- Monday – Bailey Bailey Public Library
350 Bulldogger Rd, Bailey, CO 80421 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
- Tuesday – Conifer Our Lady of the Pines Catholic Church
9444 Eagle Cliff Rd, Conifer, CO 80433 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
- Wednesday – Idaho Springs
(first stop on Dec. 2) Clear Creek County EMS
411 CO-103, Idaho Springs, CO 80452 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
- Thursday – Littleton/Larkspur Sterling Center
8155 Piney River Ave,
Littleton CO 80125 8 a.m. – Noon
– Larkspur Town Hall
8720 Spruce Mountain Rd,
Larkspur, CO 80118 2 – 6 p.m.
- Friday – Deckers/Sedalia Deckers Community Center
8570 Hwy 67, Sedalia, CO 80135 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
- Saturday – Larkspur Ponderosa Retreat and Conference Center
15235 S Furrow Rd, Larkspur, CO 80118 8 a.m. – Noon
- Sunday – Evergreen Buchanan Recreation Center
32003 Ellingwood Trail,
Evergreen, CO 80439 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
These tests are free, and insurance is not required.