Testing0401

The drive-thru testing site in Everett near Funko Field on March 23. The testing is available to those experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and that are part of an essential workforce or at-risk population.

 

The Snohomish Health District has begun drive-thru testing for COVID-19 that is available for priority workers or those especially at-risk from the disease.

The drive-thru testing began March 23 and will continue for three weeks after that in Everett, near Funko Field.

Those being tested must have symptoms of COVID-19. 

"They go through a screening criteria looking for the symptoms. It's not all of them, it's sore throat, cough and a fever of at least 100.4 degrees, or shortness of breath and difficulty breathing," said Heather Thomas, communications and public affairs officer for the Snohomish Health District.

Those tested must also be a priority worker, such as healthcare worker or first responder, or be at-risk, such as being over 60 years of age or being immuno-compromised.

In the first day of testing the health district did five appointments every 15 minutes and pushed it to about seven appointments every 15 minutes each day after.

"It's gone through pretty quick so we think we can get in seven," said Thomas.

That means about 250 tests per day for residents of the county.

The health district's testing is not meant to be the primary source of testing for the community, but a supplement to coronavirus testing.

"We had been starting some plans a couple of weeks ago," said Thomas, and the opportunity came to receive some supplies.

Dnohomish Health District officials hope the drive-thru testing supports the healthcare system in their time of need.

"Obviously this is a huge release valve and if we can provide 250 a day that helps our healthcare providers focus on those who may not meet the criteria for our tests," said Thomas.

At the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak there was limited tests, but Thomas said that situation has improved each day.

"It's gotten better and this helps," she said.

"I think there's lots of frustration. We've seen it and our community members have seen it. They have the symptoms and have some health conditions and are trying to find the testing," is difficult, she said.

The health district plans to run the testing for three weeks.

"There is the hope that at some point we turn the curve in Snohomish County," said Thomas.

"Right now, part of it is looking at supply. We have confirmation we'll have test kits for three weeks," she said.

Health district officials also have to keep in mind their own capacity and resources when deciding what to commit to.

"This is also resource intensive. We have 30 staff and volunteers out here operating this site. I know people are asking 'could we operate other sites around the county,' and it's just not realistic right now unfortunately," said Thomas.

Those interested in an appointment must pre-register at redcap.link/Snohomish-COVID-19.

"We'll be opening appointments for one week at time," said Thomas.

Residents sign up at a portal from the Washington State Department of Health, which gives them an identifier number, which they should bring with a photo ID to their appointment.

Appointments are scheduled for five days a week right now.

"We'll be looking at if there's enough demand to add an additional day or more hours," said Thomas.

Informational materials at the appointment is available in a few languages.

"We have a couple of non-English speakers, just by chance, but then we also have a couple of translation devices and the material is translated into six languages," said Thomas.

More updates from the Snohomish Health District about COVID-19 are available at their website at snohd.org/484.

 

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