County’s first low-barrier Covid-19 testing site opens July 10

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For two days starting Friday, July 10, it will be possible to get tested for Covid-19 in Whatcom County without a referral from a healthcare provider.

The Whatcom County Health Department and Whatcom Unified Command are partnering with Northwest Laboratory and the city of Bellingham to pilot a low-barrier drive-through testing facility at the Civic Field Athletic Complex, at 1355 Civic Way, in Bellingham.

The testing site will be open on Friday and Saturday, June 10 and 11, and will be open to everyone. Testing won’t require insurance, a healthcare provider’s referral or an appointment.

“Opening an additional, low-barrier, drive-through testing facility in Whatcom County will create new capacity to test individuals for Covid-19. This model will also make it easier for people to access testing without the need for a referral from their healthcare provider,” said health department director Erika Lautenbach, in a July 7 press release.

The press release didn’t say what time the facility would be open, or which days it would be open beyond the initial two days. In a Whatcom County Council committee of the whole meeting on July 7, Lautenbach said those involved were still planning the facility.

“There’s a lot of details to be worked out and of course we want to tinker with the model to make sure we can operate as efficiently as possible and to be as available to people as we can,” Lautenbach told county council.

Lautenbach said the facility would ideally be able to adjust capacity to respond to demand for testing.

“There may be a period where this is three days a week and that is sufficient. There may be a period where this is seven days a week,” she said.

Lautenbach encouraged people who had any issues with getting tested to email the health department at covid@co.whatcom.wa.us.

“If we don’t know about it, we can’t do something to fix it,” Lautenbach said.

More details about the facility will be announced later this week, according to the health department’s press release.

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