Updates from Skagit’s COVID-19 Test Site

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The COVID-19 drive-through testing site has been in operation since April 2020, and it is time to share some new updates!

Since the site opened at Skagit Valley College, we have performed almost 15,000 COVID-19 tests with the help of 143 volunteers who have put in over 60,000 hours of time. Skagit County is the ONLY county in Washington State who has been able to continuously offer drive-through testing. We are so proud of the work we’ve been able to do so far, and we’re so thankful for our community partners and Skagit Valley College for helping to make this possible.

Skagit County mayors visit the testing site on July 22, 2020 to thank volunteers and learn about the site’s successes.

As we’ve continued to operate the test site, we’ve made some adjustments to help us serve the community better.

Since its inception, we’ve:

  • Expanded our testing criteria to allow anyone who feels they need to be tested to be tested. This has helped us with contact tracing and slowing the spread of COVID-19.
  • Removed the requirement that people have an appointment to get tested, making the test site more accessible.
  • Expanded from two lanes of registration to four.
  • Lowered the testing age for minors from seven to five.

We have also found some things that are continually problematic for visitors since we first blogged about the new site in April, so we’re here to offer some advice and clarification. People visiting the testing site should remember:

  • Skagit County doesn’t pay for any lab bills. Northwest Lab handles our billing. While State and Federal officials have required that COVID-19 testing and treatment be free for all “medically necessary” treatment- it is possible that your insurance company will not cover a self-referred test. The individual is responsible for the bill, and for checking their coverage with their insurance company. (Don’t worry- we also find this annoying. The Skagit County Commissioners sent letters to the Office of the Insurance Commissioner and the Federal Delegation asking that they fix this problem.
  • It is not necessary for people to get repeatedly tested if there is not a new known exposure or symptoms. Recently, we have been seeing people come through weekly, without cause. This is not necessary. If you are following all necessary precautions, and have tested negative previously, there is no reason to get repeatedly tested- it is unnecessary and is a strain on limited resources.
  • The hot weather is proving difficult for many. Unless someone has a known exposure, symptoms or some other time constraint, we highly recommend that an individual wait for cooler days.
  • On wait times- we are consistently seeing our longest wait times on Mondays. Wait times on Mondays’ have been three hours or longer. Unless you have a pressing time constraint, please try to come on another day during the week to spread out the workload.
Wait times on Mondays are consistently higher than the rest of the week. If you can, come on a different day.

As long as there is community need, we will operate a testing site.

We are so thankful for all our community partners, and the great residents of Skagit County for making the testing site such a success!