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Health - Public Health News

Posted on: August 7, 2020

Low-barrier COVID-19 testing to expand, provided in partnership by WCHD & WUC

Beginning Monday, August 10, the Whatcom County Health Department (WCHD) and Whatcom Unified Command (WUC) will begin field testing a low-barrier, mobile COVID-19 testing model. A fully operational mobile testing program is expected to begin within two weeks thereafter at locations throughout Whatcom County. 

 The new, mobile COVID-19 testing will use an online scheduling system that allows users to register in advance for an appointment time. Registration will offer shorter and more predictable wait times than the model piloted by WCHD and WUC last month when some experienced wait times of 2-3 hours to be tested. With this testing model, the expected wait time is only 5-15 minutes.

Here’s what you need to know: 

  • Testing locations will include at least one site within each Whatcom County school district.
  • Testing will be provided Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays throughout Whatcom County. 
  • Users will also be automatically notified when their test results are available and can access results through an online portal within minutes of the test being processed. It will still take up to 24-72 hours from the time of specimen collection for tests to be processed by the laboratory. 
  • This model will allow for up to 320 individuals to be tested each day.
  • Those without access to the internet will be able to schedule a testing appointment by phone between 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., seven days a week. This new, dedicated testing access line will be staffed by trained WUC volunteers. 
  • More details about testing locations, hours, and the registration process will be provided in announcements in the coming weeks.  

 Anyone can get tested for COVID-19 at the new low-barrier sites.  Low-barrier means you don’t need a healthcare provider referral, so you can be tested without first visiting your regular provider. There is no cost to those being tested at the WCHD/WUC mobile locations.

 Whatcom County residents are encouraged to continue to visit their regular healthcare providers for COVID-19 testing, which is also provided at no cost, including waived co-pays and deductibles, under a provision by the Washington State Insurance Commissioner.


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