New drive-thru testing site for COVID-19 opening at State Fair Park

Yakima Valley Emergency Management
Yakima Valley Emergency Management

YAKIMA, Wash. — Local officials are partnering with the Washington National Guard to establish a new drive-thru testing location at State Fair Park to make it easier for high risk individuals to get tested.

The site is scheduled to open Tuesday morning and is expected to test up to 250 patients a day, which is in addition to testing done at other sites in Yakima County.

Due to limited testing resources, health officials are only testing symptomatic individuals who fall into the high risk category or who work in specific fields such as healthcare and public safety.

“We have to prioritize,” the Yakima Health District said on its website. “For people who have mild symptoms, are not high risk, and are not working in a job that provides critical services, a positive test result would not change how they should handle their illness.”

To be eligible for a free test, individuals must be symptomatic (cough, fever of at least 100.4 degrees, sore throat and/or shortness of breath), and meet specific criteria: either being a high risk individual or working  in critical infrastructure positions.

High risk individuals include those who are 60 years of age or older, have underlying medical conditions or a weakened immune system, or are currently pregnant.

Eligible professions include health care and public safety, as well as critical infrastructure like grocery stores, restaurants, shelters, gas stations, public utilities, child care and correctional facilities.

Testing is available by appointment only. Individuals must register online and take a screening test to determine if they are eligible for COVID-19 testing.

If all the criteria is met, the patient will get a testing identifier number to use to sign up for a time slot; right now, the site is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., this Tuesday through Friday. Health officials said the appointment takes about 15 minutes.

At the appointment, patients are directed to go to State Fair Park at 1301 S. Fair Ave., enter through Gate 15 off of Pacific Avenue and have their testing identifier number and photo ID ready.

Health officials say results should be ready within five days and that patients will be notified by phone call or text message.

The testing supplies and laboratory services are provided by the state Department of Health, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The drive-thru testing site is being coordinated by the Yakima Health District and the Yakima Valley Office of Emergency Management, in partnership with the Washington National Guard and Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences.

Anyone with questions can call the Yakima Emergency Operation Center at 509-574-1919.