Tacoma-Pierce County Health Deparment hosts limited, drive-through coronavirus testing site | KNKX

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Deparment hosts limited, drive-through coronavirus testing site

Mar 20, 2020

The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department is hosting a drive-through testing site for people showing symptoms of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus. People who want to get tested also must be among high-risk groups or critical public services to be eligible.

The health department announced the testing site Friday. It opens tomorrow at the Tacoma Dome and has the capacity to test about 200 people each day through Wednesday.

Health officials stressed the tests are intended for people who are showing symptoms and in those specified groups, not the general public. That means people 60 and older, pregnant women, and people with underlying health conditions are prioritized for the limited tests, along with workers who are tasked with treating patients.

“Health care workers, first-responders and people who provide critical infrastructure are on the frontlines of helping residents in need during this public health emergency,” said Jessica Gehle, incident commander for the health department’s COVID-19 response. “It’s vital we prioritize this testing for them to ensure they are able to protect the health of our communities.”

Other critical infrastructure includes pharmacies, grocery stores, homeless shelters, restaurants, gas stations and public utilities, according to a release from the health department.

The testing site is at 2727 East D Street in Tacoma. Sign-in is located at the Tacoma Dome South East entrance. Tests will be administered 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

People who want to get tested must complete an online survey before arriving; eligible patients will receive an identification number and an appointment. They’re also required to present government-issued identification upon arrival.

Patients will remain in their cars for the tests, which are nasal swabs. Officials estimate a four- to six-day turnaround for test results.

The health department urges anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 to monitor their symptoms and the symptoms of their family members for two weeks, and everyone exposed should avoid public places in that time, as well.

“We want to continue to ensure we do what we can to slow the disease spread in our community,” Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier said in a release. “We are pleased to work with the City of Tacoma, the Health Department, and our state and federal partners to make more testing available for our residents.”

The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department says the Federal Emergency Management Agency has provided 8,000 test kids to Washington.

Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards said in a statement that the health and safety of the community is a top priority.

“We are taking every measure possible to support additional testing for our community while ensuring safety for the community and staff,” Woodards said. “Ensuring that our first responders and those on the frontlines of service delivery to our community have access to COVID-19 testing is paramount to achieving our top priority.”