SPOKANE, Wash. —
Before heading off to big family gatherings, Spokane Regional Health officials encourage everyone to get tested for COVID-19.
For many, it will be the first time that families will be able to see each other after a long time.
However, with the threat of COVI-19's Omicron variant, preventing the spread of the disease is health officials’ top priority.
“There are several key ways we are going to keep this pandemic under control,” said Dr. Francisco Velázquez in a Spokane Regional Health Facebook live, “vaccines, testing, precautions, suggestions for the holidays are all on our website.”
The SRHD took part in the Say Yes! Covid Testing program. The program provided one million at-home COVID-19 testing kits to the state to encourage people to get tested and prevent the spread of the virus.
Spokane County residents were able to begin ordering kits in late November. Orders contained four at-home testing kits, totaling eight tests.
Now, thanks to increased holiday demand, those free kits may soon be unavailable.
“At the rate of current demand, we were told by Say Yes that there may not be any more free kits after Dec. 24,” Spokane Regional Health District public information officer, Kelli Hawkins, said.
Hawkins said that it’s important to get tested if you plan on being around others.
“Being aware of your status, if you're positive, helps, you know, okay, I should stay home or I shouldn't go to that gathering where potentially there's someone who may be immunocompromised, or maybe at risk for more severe symptoms.”
Hawkins said that it is not confirmed if there will be no kits available after tomorrow. She continued on to say that if there are no available kits, at-home testing kits can be purchased at local pharmacies or grocery stores.
KREM 2 visited a local grocery store and a Rite-Aid pharmacy but weren’t able to find at-home kits until visiting a Walgreens.
Spokane Regional Health will be hosting rapid antigen only testing at its Spokane Falls Community College site, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., on Friday, Dec. 24.