by Andrew Engelson
With COVID-19 hospitalization rates still high in King County during Christmas week, the City of Seattle announced the opening of three new COVID-19 testing kiosks at locations across the city, including one near the Mount Baker Link Light Rail Station. The Mount Baker kiosk begins service on Saturday, Dec. 26.
The walk-up kiosks offer an observed and directed self-collected oral fluid swab COVID-19 test that’s less uncomfortable than nasal swab tests. The tests are free, but online reservations are required at the City of Seattle’s COVID-19 testing website or at www.curative.com. The kiosk operates from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday, although these hours may be adjusted to meet demand. Check the city’s testing website for more details.
The Mount Baker kiosk is located at the former University of Washington laundry facility just west of the Mount Baker Link Light Rail Station. The other two locations are in North Seattle at Lower Woodland Park and in the Uptown/Seattle Center area at 2nd Ave. and Republican, near Seattle Repertory Theatre.
“Testing continues to be one of the most important things we can do in response to the COVID-19 crisis,” Mayor Jenny Durkan said in an email announcement of the program. “While our City of Seattle sites have conducted nearly 480,000 tests since June, these additional Curative kiosks enable us to reach more people in more neighborhoods all across our City. As we go into the holidays, we must remember that cases are still surging in our region and hospitalizations are at record levels. We must remain vigilant in order to keep our friends, families, loved ones, and communities safe.”
The small kiosks are built and managed by Curative, a San Dimas, Calif.-based company focused on easy-to-use, rapid COVID-19 testing.
“Curative is proud to be serving the greater Seattle area and be a crucial testing resource for everyone in the community during this pandemic,” said Fred Turner, CEO and co-founder of Curative in an email. “Curative’s goal is to make testing more accessible with our easy walk-up kiosk. Our unique, self-collected oral fluid swab COVID-19 PCR test offers a painless, simple option with quick 24-48 hour results upon receipt at our labs and no cost to patients.”
According to the City of Seattle announcement, clients at the kiosks will not be charged and will not receive a bill, regardless of insurance status. For uninsured clients, Curative will seek reimbursement for testing costs from state and federal resources including the Families First Coronavirus Response Act Relief Fund.
For a complete list of free COVID-19 testing locations in King County visit this site.
Andrew Engelson is a writer and editor who lives in Seattle’s South End.
Featured image: Mayor Jenny Durkan hands out masks at Rainier Beach Community Center in Seattle, Washington, on Aug. 20, 2020. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)