Have family coming in for the holidays? Here are some locations and options for them to get tested for COVID-19.
The holidays have passed and people that have been traveling all over the country are flocking back into town where, according to the Washington State Department of Health and UW Medicine, the Omicron variant has been spreading throughout Washington State and has been discovered on campus through the Husky Coronavirus Testing voluntary research study.
With this past holiday season bringing us some uncertainty regarding the Omicron variant, the CDC is recommending both flu and COVID shots, and to wear a mask indoors if you’re not fully vaccinated or if you have a weakened immune system. If you are fully vaccinated, the CDC is recommending wearing a mask indoors in places with “substantial or high COVID-19 transmission”. An interpretation of these guidelines in a Prevention article by Jake Smith says that if you have been travelling, once you arrive, “you should also get a COVID-19 test as soon as possible and self-quarantine for at least a full week, even if your test is negative” and that, “When in doubt, [you should] get tested”.
On the Husky Coronavirus Testing site, it states that, “Self-test kits can be picked up in the Campus Y Center between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday (with the exception of 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Tuesday) and between 8 a.m. and noon on Saturdays. A return box is also located at the Y Center and kits can be returned anytime the building is accessible”. This can be a good option if you were exposed to COVID-19 and need to maintain distance from others in order to prevent spreading the virus, however, your access will be limited based on building closures.
A Pierce County COVID-19 testing site is located at 3003 107th St S. Lakewood, 98499 with free tests, no identification requirement, on-site staff for help and information, and the results are available in five to seven days. The site operates 7 days a week except for holidays and is open from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department also has a web page that lists testing sites, including rapid testing sites. Such sites include Cheney Stadium, several Walgreens Pharmacy locations, the Tacoma Mall, the Bonney Lake Park-and-Ride, the South Hill Mall, and many more.
The King County website has a page dedicated to COVID-19 testing sites and guidance such as when to get tested, testing options, and testing for travel. The page says, “Free COVID-19 testing is available throughout King County regardless of immigration or insurance status. King County-operated sites are intended to serve communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19 or who cannot access a COVID-19 test through their regular healthcare provider”.
Thurston County has a comprehensive list of “drive through or walk-up no cost testing locations” including Bird’s Eye Medical, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Quest Direct/Walmart, and the Thurston County Public Health and Social Services. The page also includes a CDC Self-Checker tool to determine whether you should be tested for COVID-19.