EVERETT — More COVID-19 testing is available in Snohomish County as of Monday morning, as a new drive-thru testing site opened in the parking lot of Everett Memorial Stadium on Broadway.
However, the free tests aren’t available to everyone.
They are reserved for people who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 — such as coughing, a fever of at least 100.4 degrees, sore throat and shortness of breath — who are in any of the following categories:
- Age 60 or older.
- Anyone with underlying health conditions.
- Health care workers.
- People who work in “critical infrastructure,” such as public safety, grocery stores, restaurants, shelters, gas stations, public utilities, child care and correctional facilities.
“Not everybody needs to be tested,” said Heather Thomas, a spokesperson for the Snohomish Health District, which runs the site. “By and large, most people will be able to recover at home and monitor their symptoms. … But this is one way for those prioritized or high-risk areas to get that test done.”
Snohomish County, the state’s third-largest county with a population of 803,039, had 519 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 11 deaths as of Monday afternoon, according to the Washington state Department of Health.
The county performed about 160 tests Monday at the new site, with plans to increase to 250 per day during its three-week trial run.
This week, the site is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday.
“It’s been going very smoothly,” Thomas said. “The most we had was at the very beginning. We had 10 to 12 cars, but many of them had arrived early and it was just getting everybody set up and getting in a groove. By and large, most cars are in and out in about 10 minutes.”
Testing is by appointment, and to make an appointment, you must fill out a survey on the Snohomish Health District’s website — snohd.org/drive-thru-testing — to determine whether you’re eligible. Those who qualify will receive a testing identifier number to present at the site.
People must arrive in a vehicle with a valid government-issued photo identification. At the first checkpoint, they’re greeted by medical assistants wearing face masks, clear plastic face shields, gloves and disposable gowns.
Cars then pull ahead to two white tents, where people undergo a nasal swab to produce a mucus sample while remaining in their vehicles.
“It’s not comfortable,” Thomas warned of the swab.
After 10 to 15 minutes, the examination is over and people drive away. The test results are available in three to five days via a phone call or text message.
Snohomish County received enough test kits from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to supply three weeks of free testing.
“Then we’ll evaluate whether we have the capacity and supplies to continue,” Thomas said. “Hopefully, the number of cases will start to go down and the demand is not there.”
This is the second government-run drive-thru coronavirus testing site in the state. Last Saturday, the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department opened a five-day drive-thru testing site at the Tacoma Dome; as of Monday afternoon, all its appointments had already been booked.
To see a list of COVID-19 testing sites in King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties, visit st.news/coronavirus-testing.