Richland COVID testing location going on hiatus

RICHLAND, Wash. — The COVID-19 testing location on George Washington Way held by the University of Washington Medicine will be on hiatus, starting June 15. They will be keeping the CBC West location on Argent Road open to accommodate Tri-Cities COVID-19 testing.

“They’ve chosen to put the one on hiatus and just manage the one site that can pretty much handle the current need for testing right now in our communities,” said Annie Goodwin, with the Operations Section for COVID response in the Benton-Franklin Health District.

The BFHD and UW Medicine have seen a decrease in traffic through the location on G-Way in Richland.

The supervisor at the Richland COVID testing location, Bernaldino Rangel, said that in January, during a peak in cases, the location saw between 400 and 500 people per day. He said that they are now seeing about 250 people per week, a drastic decrease.

“There’s less traffic. They’re just starting to make cuts now,” Rangel said. “Which makes sense, you know. There’s been a lot less worry about it nowadays.”

Though the numbers are down right now, the location could open back up if needed. Goodwin said if it gets to the point where they see the increased need, operations can start in very short-order.

And according to Goodwin, the counties are starting to see a slight increase in positive cases.

“We’re starting to see things go up. Our wastewater is continuing to increase and our PCR numbers in addition to some of our reported numbers are also increasing,” Goodwin said.

The Benton-Franklin Health District wanted to remind people that at-home testing is still available. They said you can get it through the state, the federal government and from pharmacies.

“It is important for people to, to judge their risk and determine if they should be taking precautions, whether it’s wearing a mask, whether it’s you know having things outdoors where there’s better ventilation, and being careful about the people that they’re around if they have folks who are immunocompromised or some of our elderly folks to make sure that they keep them protected,” Goodwin said.

Though one location is closing, the Pasco site at CBC has the capacity to handle testing in Tri-Cities for now.

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