Health Department to host drive-thru testing for first responders, healthcare workers

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People at higher risk for COVID-19 and those who provide critical services for our community can get tested for the disease at a special testing site in Tacoma beginning Saturday. The testing aims to identify the disease in the community, while allowing important work to safely continue. 

“We want to continue to ensure we do what we can to slow the disease spread in our community,” Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier said. “We are pleased to work with the City of Tacoma, the Health Department, and our state and federal partners to make more testing available for our residents.”

Testing is intended for people who have symptoms—fever, cough and shortness of breath—and:

  • Work in healthcare.
  • Work in public safety jobs like law enforcement, firefighter, EMS or pharmacist.
  • Work in critical infrastructure.
    • Such as grocery stores, homeless shelters, restaurants, gas stations and public utilities.
  • Are in a high-risk group.
    • Over 60, underlying conditions, pregnant.

“Healthcare workers, first responders and people who provide critical infrastructure are on the frontlines of helping residents in need during this public health emergency,” said Jessica Gehle, incident commander for the Health Department’s COVID-19 response. “It’s vital we prioritize this testing for them to ensure they are able to protect the health of our communities.”

Testing is not for the general public.                                                                                             

At this time limited tests are available. Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, which is operating the site, requires people to complete an online survey to find out if they’re eligible for testing and to register. People who qualify will receive a testing identifier number to present at the site. All people must arrive in a vehicle and provide a valid government-issued photo identification. The test is completed using a nasal swab while participants remain in their vehicles. People who arrive without proper testing identification will not get tested.

“Our community’s health and safety is our top priority,” Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards said. “We are taking every measure possible to support additional testing for our community while ensuring safety for the community and staff. Ensuring that our first responders and those on the frontlines of service delivery to our community have access to COVID-19 testing is paramount to achieving our top priority.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency provided 8,000 test kits to Washington. A limited number will be available for the five-day event. More options for COVID-19 testing continue to become available.

Find updated information about the novel coronavirus and our sharable infographic at www.tpchd.org/coronavirus.   

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