SPOKANE, Wash. — The main parking lot at Spokane Falls Community College just off of West Whistalks Way was calm on Sunday afternoon, but come 8:30 a.m. on Monday morning, the first of hundreds of COVID-19 tests will be administered at a new testing site.
The testing site will be run by Seattle-based Discovery Health MD in partnership with the Washington State Department of Health and the Spokane Regional Health District. It comes as the SRHD said the county is seeing a high rate of transmission.
On its opening day, Discovery Health MD Chief Growth Officer Daniel Pulse said the site will be able to administer 450-500 tests a day.
"The setup process has gone pretty well, we're expecting a fairly high volume tomorrow," Pulse said. "It seems like there's a lot of excitement around this site throughout the community."
If the demand is higher and Discovery can hire more staff locally, Pulse said the capacity could go up to 800 tests a day. Pulse added there has already been a lot of interest in the site.
"We've been getting a lot of calls and a lot of people reaching out about this," he said. "We're just excited that we can do something to support the Spokane community for testing needs."
The site at Spokane Falls Community College will have two lanes for testing, and will use lab-based PCR tests, which Pulse said was selected for its high level of accuracy. While not required, booking an appointment on the Discovery Health MD website is strongly encouraged, but Pulse said those who drive-up without an appointment won't be turned away. It is asked that only those with symptoms or who have had a confirmed exposure to someone with COVID-19 get a test at the site.
When a person arrives for their appointment, Pulse said staff will hand them a sample tube with their name and date of birth. At a later point in the site, a staff member will collect the sample, Pulse said. On the way out of the site, each person getting a test will be given a card with instructions on how to view their results, which Pulse said people should get within 48 to 72 hours. He added it could be quicker.
Those with health insurance will be asked to provide that information either on the appointment sign-up form or at the site when they arrive. Both insured and uninsured individuals will be tested at no cost.
The site at SFCC will be open Monday - Tuesday and Thursday - Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Pulse said Discovery is working to nail down a second drive-through location in Spokane Valley in the coming weeks. Both sites should be open through the end of this year and possibly into 2022 depending on support from the DOH and SRHD, as well as continuing demand. As for long-term plans, Pulse said Discovery may look into a third location - also in Spokane Valley - that would be a walk-up site.