Free COVID-19 testing site opening in Pasco
Health officials urge you to get tested -- symptoms or no symptoms
PASCO, Wash. — While contact tracers look into what caused a spike in Tri-Cities coronavirus cases announced Wednesday, a new testing site was prepped in hopes of lowering the numbers.
A free community COVID-19 testing site opens Thursday on West Argent Road in Pasco. Health care and emergency workers joined the Pasco Fire Department and its chief in encouraging people to “be a lifesaver” and get tested.
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“Come through here, whether you’re symptomatic or not,” urged Pasco Fire Chief Bob Gear. “Our infection rate is very high in Benton and Franklin County: almost 10 percent compared to the state average down around 2-3 percent. The only way we’re going to beat that metric is to get healthy people tested and asymptomatic people tested that don’t know that they’re spreading.”
Chief Gear says a number of local firefighters have come out of retirement to help staff the site. The local health district says the staffers tasked with performing the testing are highly trained.
“Testing for COVID is really the first critical step in being able to control this pandemic,” said Dr. Amy Person of the Benton-Franklin Health District. “Being able to have a site that is staffed locally, that’s in a location that won’t need to be repurposed back to its original life — like the HAPO Center and the Toyota Center — is critical to sustaining testing in our community.”
The new testing site is located at 3110 W. Argent Road, north of the Highway 395-Interstate 182 interchange; look for the white tent and traffic cones in a parking lot just west of Columbia Basin College.
Testing is free and available Thursday-Monday, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. “regardless of a person’s insurance or immigration status.” The site is ADA accessible. Some staff members are multilingual in Spanish, Somali and American Sign Language.
The drive- and walk-through testing site is designed to test up to 500 people per day. Walk-ins are OK but pre-registering at wacovid19.org/tricitiestesting will get you faster service — as short as 15 minutes, organizers say. Expect test results within three days.