Denver is moving to community-based testing sites starting next month.

The City and County of Denver has begun to reduce the number of lanes available at its drive-through COVID-19 testing site at the Pepsi Center, a move that signals a transition to expanded community-based testing sites after September 30.

The Pepsi Center site was established as a large-scale COVID-19 testing site on May 22, providing free drive-up COVID-19 tests in the parking lot of the facility for those who had symptoms. Results were provided within a few days and positive tests were reported to the city's contact tracing program. When it was opened, the site was expected to process 500 individuals per day.

“The Pepsi Center site provided the broad, regional testing capacity needed early in our response, to stand in the gap to give the city time to build out a community-based testing program,” said Robert McDonald, executive director of the Denver Department of Public Health & Environment and the Public Health Administrator for Denver. “With that accomplished, the city can focus its testing resources where they are most effective, at a community level in highly impacted and underserved neighborhoods.”

Starting Sunday, the department reduced the number of testing lanes from eight to four and warned the public to expect longer wait times than usual. People who want to be tested are encouraged to register ahead of time online. The testing program, which is a strategic effort by the city and its partners, will now expand to mobile and neighborhood testing sites through a network of organizations with strong community ties, the department said.

Community testing locations will change, so the public is asked to check for the latest information on testing sites. Those who cannot access a city-sponsored testing site and think they need to be tested should check with their family physician.