Colorado and King Soopers to offer free tests at Denver’s Auraria campus

Colorado emergency officials and King Soopers pharmacy and nursing crews will offer free COVID-19 drive-thru testing for about 500 people on the Auraria campus in Denver this week.

Tuesday and Wednesday, tests will be administered from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in a parking garage on the campus, at 650 Walnut St., officials for the grocery chain said Sunday evening.

“It is a partnership with the state and Auraria to make sure this important testing is available to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” King Soopers spokeswoman Jessica Trowbridge said.

Increased testing has been a key obstacle to reopening. Mayor Michael Hancock said Denver must test 1,000 people a day before its stay-at-home order is lifted. So far, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment officials said Sunday,  63,274 tests have been administered in the state, confirming 13,441 cases of COVID-19, the sickness that can result when the new coronavirus attacks the respiratory system.

King Soopers and state officials are discussing possible expansion of testing at other locations after Wednesday, Trowbridge said. “That is our goal.”

Colorado residents seeking tests for COVID-19 must register first at krogerhealth.com/covidtesting or by callling 888-852-2567. They’ll be screened to determine whether they are eligible, officials said, and if so would receive an email notice of an appointment for testing. Precise criteria for eligibility wasn’t clear, but screening questions adapted from federal Centers for Disease Control and state health department recommendations aimed to assist “priority patients who need testing the most.”

King Soopers President Steve Burnham, in an email, said the company will provide professional services for free at the drive-thru testing area. Burnham indicated these services will include “ordering and observing” COVID-19 testing.