City of Seattle and UW Medicine Partner to Launch Two Free Testing Sites

by Carolyn Bick

The City of Seattle and the UW Medicine have launched two free novel coronavirus testing sites in Seattle, one of which is located in South Seattle’s SODO area.

In a press conference with several health professionals and Seattle Fire Department (SFD) personnel, Mayor Jenny Durkan and UW President Ana Maria Cauce announced the launch of the North Seattle and South Seattle testing sites, which open Friday, June 5. The South Seattle site will be located at 3820 6th Ave. S. Both sites will be open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Though SFD Chief Scoggins encouraged people to register for testing ahead of time, he said they will not turn anyone away. The goal, he said, is to test up to 1,600 people per day between the two sites. SFD Lt. Brian Wallace said people who get tested can expect to get results within 24-48 hours via a QR code they will receive at the site. They can use the QR code on their phones or look it up on the computer.

Dr. Geoffery Baird, Professor and Interim Chair a the UW’s Department of Laboratory Medicine said the university has sourced testing supplies from several places, and are “in a much better place” supply-wise. Scoggins said that the sites can last for 45 days with the current testing supplies they have in stock at a total testing rate of 1,600 people per day.

As Gov. Jay Inslee did earlier in the day, nearly all those who spoke encouraged people with even mild symptoms or those who have been in contact with another person who might have COVID-19 to get tested. By doing this, Seattle-King County Public Health Director Patty Hayes said, not only will they catch more cases to better protect the community, but they will also help King County move forward into a new phase under the state’s Safe Start plan.

Right now, Hayes said, the county is averaging about 2,000 tests per day. This addition will provide a significant boost that will allow it to average 5,000 tests per day.

“This addition from the city is an amazing bump to what we need to be doing. That’s part of the metric for what the governor has set for the target metrics on what we need to be doing for reopening and allowing more activities and more of our businesses to function,” Hayes said.

The South Seattle testing site is located at 3820 6th Ave. S., and will be open from Monday – Saturday, starting June 5. The site will operate from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Register here for advance testing. Registration is not required, but strongly encouraged.

Carolyn Bick is a journalist and photographer based in South Seattle. You can reach them here and here.

Featured image: Medical staff react to another staffer at Rainier Beach’s Atlantic City Boat Ramp novel coronavirus mobile testing site in Seattle, Washington, on April 22, 2020. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)