The county’s efforts to ramp up COVID-19 testing is getting a boost with the arrival of the National Guard to conduct free testing for anyone who wants it at several locations starting Tuesday.
“We will pretty much be testing anyone, and be able to perform up to 80 tests a day,” said Public Health Director Karolyn Holden. She said it will either be walk-up or drive-through testing, depending on the space available, and will not require an appointment.
The only requirements are a valid phone number and address; identification is not required. Those under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. There will be no questions regarding immigration status, and both English and Spanish speaking support will be available at each location.
“A great thing is this go-around they are bringing their own lab,” and results will be available within 24-48 hours, said Holden.
Dates will occur throughout the month of October. The first announced dates and locations include:
Oct. 6, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Olympic Stadium east parking lot in Hoquiam
Oct. 7, noon to 6 p.m. at the Olympic Stadium east parking lot in Hoquiam
Oct. 8, 1-7 p.m., Aberdeen High School student parking lot
Oct. 9, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Aberdeen High School student parking lot
Oct. 10, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Aberdeen High School student parking lot
Oct. 13, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Elma Fairgrounds parking lot
Oct. 14, 1-7 p.m., Elma Fairgrounds parking lot
Need for more testing
Holden said the increase in cases in the county of late has the county falling behind in testing levels recommended by the state.
“The state would like to see us testing 50 people for every positive case we have,” said Holden. “With the number of cases we’ve had we haven’t had the local resources to do that much testing.”
Holden said it’s important to test as many people as possible to get a better handle on “exactly what is going out there,” and to do that more people, whether exhibiting mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, need to be tested.
“This will help us get testing numbers up to what we want to see,” said Holden.
There are other testing options as well, at Grays Harbor Community Hospital in Aberdeen and Summit Pacific Medical Center in Elma. In the east county, Health Mart Pharmacies in Elma and McCleary are testing, “and not at capacity,” said Holden. “If people live in those areas and want to get tested, it sounds like they have the capacity to get those people tested.”
Testing at locations outside the National Guard locations may have different costs and requirements attached to them. It’s best to call ahead of time to find out specific requirements for each location.
Grays Harbor County Public Health’s COVID-19 bilingual call center is now open weekends at 360-964-1850 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday, Sunday and holidays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Grays Harbor COVID-19 updates, including current case counts, are available at healthygh.org.