By Tori Mason

DENVER (CBS4)– President Joe Biden announced the federal government will launch an at-home testing program to provide Americans with free COVID-19 tests. Free at-home testing kits are a resource Colorado has offered residents for months. Gov. Jared Polis says more opportunities to get tested and vaccinated will be available in state at the start of the new year.

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Polis released a statement following Biden’s announcement Tuesday:

“Earlier this year, our administration launched a free, quick and easy at-home-testing program so Coloradans could have safety, peace of mind, and save money by testing in the comfort of their own homes. We have sent out over 1.3 million free tests to people across our state, and also offer a wide variety of other free testing options at various locations to slow the spread of the virus. We applaud President Biden and his administration for following our state’s lead to deliver free, at-home testing for all Americans. We look forward to helping with efforts that result in safer, healthier communities in the new year.”

While Delta remains the largest variant in Colorado, Polis expects Omicron to take over in weeks or even days. Polis says Colorado has sufficient testing capacity, but he wants to bring additional sites to the state to decrease delays and long lines.

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After the first of the year, mass testing and vaccine sites will reactivate. Soon Coloradans will be able to get first, second or third doses at places like Ball Arena, Water World, Dick’s Sporting Goods Park and Boulder County Fairgrounds.

The state is expecting increased demand for vaccines and Covid testing soon. CovidCheck Colorado says that need is already here.

“I think a lot of the demand is related to the holidays as well as the Omicron variant spread,” said Joshua Posner, Senior Director of Operation. “Monday, we saw nearly 11,000 patients across the state of Colorado. And it’s the first day we’ve had actually 10,000 plus patients and appointments since December.”

Posner says they have all the appropriate PPE and testing kits. While CovidCheck takes walk-up appointments, he recommends people make an appointment online before getting vaccinated or tested.

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The state is nearly begging for people to their booster shots, but that’s been easier said than done for many. CBS4 met people in line at one of the state’s mobile clinics who were relieved to get an appointment.

“I made an appointment three weeks ago for CVS at Target. And then I went and they told me that they ran out of vaccines. I would definitely still be waiting if the bus wasn’t available,” said Caroline. “I feel like there’s more peace of mind knowing there’s a shortage of reservations because it seems like people are doing their part and getting vaccinated.”

Tori Mason