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Whatcom County Health Department announces pilot test of easier access to COVID-19 testing

Last updated on July 29, 2020

FERNDALE, Wash. — Whatcom County Health Department announced yesterday that a 2-day pilot test of a drive-through COVID-19 testing facility will be held at the Civic Field Athletic Complex in Bellingham on Friday, July 10th, and Saturday, July 11th from 9:30am to 3:30pm.

According to the announcement, Whatcom County Health Department (WCHD) and Whatcom Unified Command (WUC) are partnering with Northwest Laboratory and the City of Bellingham to increase access to COVID-19 testing in Whatcom County.

This testing facility will be able to serve individuals with or without insurance. The expanded testing access comes at a time when case counts are again increasing in Whatcom County and across Washington State.

Whatcom County Health Department drive-through testing press release (July 7, 2020).

WCHD Director Erika Lautenbach is quoted in the press release as saying, “This model will also make it easier for people to access testing without the need for a referral from their healthcare provider.” 

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According to WCHD, COVID-19 testing has been provided at 7 clinic locations around Whatcom County and at the Northwest Laboratory facility. Testing has been limited to those referred by a healthcare provider. Northwest Laboratory has been offering drive-through access to testing by appointment according to WCHD.

WCHD’s website says, “Anyone can get tested. However, healthcare providers are focusing on people with symptoms of COVID-19 and their contacts. Even if you have mild symptoms, please get tested.”

The following 3 graphs were produced by My Ferndale News using Whatcom County testing data from March 1st through June 29th made available by the Washington State Department of Health. The trend lines indicate 10-day moving averages.

According to data published by the Washington State Department of Health, as of July 6th there had been 667 positive tests in Whatcom County and 9% of those patients required some form of hospitalization and 6% died.

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Source: Washington State Department of Health COVID-19 Data Dashboard (July 7, 2020)

This story was updated 7/9/20 at 12:40 to include the hours of the drive-through testing.

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