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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 3, 2021
CONTACT:Heather Thomas, firstname.lastname@example.org
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – In just seven days, roughly 15,000 people were tested around the county. Many locations in Snohomish County saw the highest volume of people seeking testing since the pandemic began during that week ending August 28. Of those tested, approximately 15 percent—more than 2,000 people—were positive for COVID-19.
Given the increased demand and high level of transmission happening locally and regionally, the Snohomish Health District is making some adjustments to testing operations. This includes a closure of one site, but the addition of two new locations.
The Health District has been operating a test site at the Lynnwood Food Bank for more than a year. This Saturday, September 4 will be the last day at that location.
“We are so grateful to the staff and volunteers at the Lynnwood Food Bank who have partnered with us for testing and vaccinations on their facility,” said Dr. Chris Spitters, Health Officer for the Snohomish Health District. “This location has been one of the District’s busiest sites for quite some time.”
In recent weeks, the testing site was seeing more than 300 people per day. While staff were able to get people through, it was a strain on operations and the site. On September 9, a new testing location will open up at the Ash Way Park & Ride in Lynnwood. It will be open for testing from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Wednesday through Sunday.
“As we saw with the vaccine site there earlier this year, this location allows us to handle higher volumes and some added flexibility for future planning needs,” added Dr. Spitters. “We appreciate Community Transit’s partnership and support in helping us bring this location back online.”
The Health District currently has 29 staff and temporary employees assigned to the testing team. An additional site is anticipated to open later this month in the north end of the county. Further details will be released once finalized and staffing is in place.
Testing is still a critical part of our COVID response, and people who have symptoms or may have been exposed to someone should seek testing. Those who are ill should not ride public transportation when going to the new Ash Way Park & Ride site for testing. If transportation is a barrier, please contact the COVID-19 Helpline operated by Washington 211 at 1-800-525-0127 for assistance.
Appointments for testing at the District’s locations are required, and registration is available at www.snohd.org/testing. Those without internet access or needing language assistance can reach the Health District’s call center at 425.339.5278 to schedule a testing appointment. The call center is staffed 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Callers after hours or on weekends can leave a message, which will be returned on the next business day.
All locations and the Health District’s call center will be closed on Monday, September 6 in observance of Labor Day. The testing schedule for the remainder of the week is as follows:
As a reminder, the Health District’s testing sites are a supplement to other options offered by healthcare providers and pharmacies. Additional resources can be found by calling 1-800-525-0127 or visiting one of these websites:
Many people are also turning to over-the-counter, at-home tests purchased online or through local pharmacies. These tests can be convenient and improve access to testing but it is important to ensure people are still using the right kind of test, taking steps to get care, isolating from others if they are positive, and reporting positive results to the state.
Reporting helps the Department of Health (DOH) determine how and where the virus is spreading so resources can be allocated to reduce the spread. A partnership with Washington 211 makes it easy to report a positive test result from an at-home test through the state’s COVID-19 hotline at 1-800-525-0127. Hotline personnel will determine next steps based on ZIP code so results can be recorded and reported, as well as assisting callers with any questions they may have.
Back-to-school is occurring in the midst of a COVID-19 surge in all regions of the state. Supporting the effort to get students back into schools, and formulating plans to help keep our schools open, has been an ongoing priority for the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) and the Health District. That is why the strategy for a healthy return includes layered protections: encouraging vaccines for all eligible students, requiring staff to be vaccinated, masking, and access to testing.
DOH also announced optional testing programs available to schools as students and staff head back for the first time in more than a year. This includes their partnership with the Health Commons Project to provide interested districts with testing support, including a testing strategist to help develop the best strategy and tools. For more on that program, visit https://learntoreturn.org/.