On May 21, Mayor Michael Hancock and Governor Jared Polis cheered the launch of free COVID-19 testing at the Pepsi Center for individuals who are symptomatic. Since then, the rules have been loosened to allow participants in ongoing downtown Denver demonstrations to be checked at no charge, too, whether or not they're showing symptoms.
Unfortunately, the location isn't exactly convenient for many residents in underserved communities, including African-Americans who have been disproportionately impacted by the disease in the Mile High City and beyond.
But beginning at 9 a.m. today, June 9, and continuing through the month, the City of Denver is offering expanded COVID-19 testing in places where local residents are at higher risk of negative outcomes.
"While the data gathered by Denver Public Health includes only known cases of COVID-19 confirmed by testing, the figures clearly show a disproportionate amount of inequities in death by race and ethnicity," the announcement from the Denver health department notes.
With that in mind, the city's Racial Equity Council, which comprises organizations such as the Be Well Health and Wellness Initiative of the Foundation for Sustainable Urban Communities, Center for African American Health, Denver Indian Health and Family Services, Open Door Ministries, Center for Public Health Practice-Colorado School of Public Health, Make a Chess Move, Girls Inc., Street Fraternity and Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights, decided to bring free testing for the novel coronavirus where it's needed most.
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Here's the first batch of locations and testing times:
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Tuesday, June 9, and Tuesday, June 23
The Center for African American Health
3350 Hudson Street
9 a.m.-1 p.m. (both days)
Saturday, June 13
Montbello High School
5000 Crown Boulevard
10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Thursday, June 18
7805 East 35th Avenue
10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Saturday, June 20
New Hope Baptist Church
3701 Colorado Boulevard
9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Friday, June 27
Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church
1500 S. Dayton Street
9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Additional locations and days for free, community-based testing are expected to be announced soon.
Meanwhile, the State of Colorado is getting into the act, too, by way of what the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment describes as "free, voluntary drive-thru viral testing for enrolled Southern Ute tribal members and immediate family members." The testing began at 8 a.m. today and will continue through 5 p.m. in the overflow parking lot of the Sky Ute Casino Resort, located at 14324 Colorado Highway 172 in Ignacio, with checks available during the same hours on June 10 and 11. Call 970-563-0214 for more details.