Jan 11, 2022 - COVID

Where to find COVID tests in Colorado

Illustration of a pattern of covid particles and positive signs turning into each other.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

One of Colorado's main strategies for battling the pandemic is providing access to free COVID-19 testing.

Zoom out: The state's free rapid test program is even being emulated by the White House, which is working to distribute a half-billion tests across the country and require insurers to cover the cost.

Yes, but: It's hard to find a test in Colorado — whether looking for an in-person appointment or at-home swabs — with surging demand.

We know this first-hand, so we put together a few tips and tricks we've learned along the way:

If your medical provider is booked, check Colorado's list of free testing sites in 105 locations across the state.

  • Upon registering, you can search for available appointments, but beware many locations are booked days ahead.
  • An alternative is a visit to a daily mass testing site, such as Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City or Citadel Mall in Colorado Springs, run by private providers and staffed with National Guard soldiers. Be prepared to wait an hour or longer during busy times.
  • Otherwise, try getting a reservation at a private location, such as a pharmacy.

What's more: When it comes to at-home tests, be prepared for a wait.

  • Major retailers, such as Walmart, are good places to check. You can even buy them online to reserve them, but watch for canceled order notices because stock is not consistently updated.
  • The state's portal to request free tests is overwhelmed – and it takes weeks if not months to even get the opportunity to order them, on top of shipping time.
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