Mayor Michael Hancock, right, is joined by Gov. Jared Polis and other city leaders and regional partners to announce a new free, drive-up COVID-19 testing site on May 21, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. The testing site is located in the parking lot west of the Pepsi Center. (Photo By Kathryn Scott)

Less than 24 hours after Denver announced it was reducing its hours at the state’s largest drive-up coronavirus testing site due to a shortage of testing kits, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis swooped in to help.

Polis had 10,000 COVID-19 testing kits delivered to Denver’s Pepsi Center on Wednesday, preventing the site from having to scale back operations due to its testing partner, LabCorp, experiencing a shortage of testing kits as states such as Arizona, Texas and Florida see the virus resurge.

The testing site was supplied with swabs from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and test kits purchased from South Korean suppliers, a spokesperson from Colorado's Joint Information Center said. "Denver reports that they have had a significant increase in testing demand in advance of the holiday weekend, which was coupled with limits being placed on their supply from private lab partners. They believe it is possible for them to collect up to 2,500 samples per day over the next few days, so we provided an initial 10,000 tests to ensure sufficient supply given the anticipated demand."

This week marked the second week in a row that new cases of COVID-19 rose in Colorado, a trend that hasn’t been seen locally since early April.

“On behalf of Mayor Michael Hancock and myself, as well as the people of Denver, we are grateful for our partnership with Governor Polis and the state of Colorado,” Murphy Robinson, head of the city’s testing task force and executive director of Denver’s Department of Public Safety. “With this support from the state and our ongoing partnership with LabCorp, we will be able to resume normal operations at the testing site immediately.”

As of now, the testing site will be open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., excluding holidays. The testing site will be closed July 3-6 due to the holiday and because city staffers will be furloughed, as is part of the city’s strategy to weather the pandemic’s economic storm.  

Since Polis and Denver Mayor Hancock opened the testing site on May 22, more than 35,000 tests have been conducted. On Monday, the Pepsi Center set a record by administering 2,009 tests in one day.

Testing at the Pepsi Center is free and open to everyone. Anyone who is symptomatic, may have been exposed to the virus and are deemed “essential” by their employees are encouraged to be tested. To pre-register for a test and for more information, visit http://www.denvergov.org/testing.

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