By Shawn Chitnis

DENVER (CBS4)– DENVER (CBS4) – The Denver Department of Public Health & Environment opened a new community testing site inside Ruby Hill Park on Monday, which will become the fourth location for the agency later this month. The testing site at Paco Sanchez Park had to close so staff could be trained and open the new location.

(credit: CBS)

“Neighborhoods where we are seeing the highest case counts were not getting the access to testing,” said Tony Diaz, testing branch director for DDPHE.

City staff want to encourage more people to come to this location since it can hold more cars in a line at the park rather than pushing traffic onto to neighboring streets. They’ve hired 35 people to help with the new testing site, but they were unable to get everyone ready in time to have all four locations open on Monday.

The mass testing site at Ball Arena, formerly Pepsi Center, reached 1,200 people a day. Diaz says they test just under 1,100 people at the initial three sites in Denver, once Ruby Hill and Paco Sanchez are both part of the mix, they expect to get testing up to 1,200 people again. The CDC recommends 1,080 tests a day for a city of Denver’s size, according to Diaz. He says the agency does have 2,000 tests available for all its sites.

(credit: CBS)

“The community sites bring the access closer to them where we’re seeing the highest case counts and positivity rates,” Diaz said.

If you’re looking to get tested but you can schedule an appointment with your health care provider, the city would prefer you leave the community sites for those who need it most. While the lines were managed within the park at the beginning of the day, Mondays are usually busy for community testing, the city tweeted in the afternoon they had to close the site because of wait times. They also have delayed the open of testing until 12 p.m. on Tuesday because of snow in the forecast.

Testing at Ruby Hill will be open weekdays at 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and weekends from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. All testing sites will be closed on Thanksgiving and the Friday after the holiday.

“This gets access quicker to them,” Diaz said. “Quicker we test them, quicker we can provide care for them.”

Shawn Chitnis