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National Guard moves WSU coronavirus testing indoors amid poor air quality

The Washington National Guard moved their coronavirus testing location to WSU's Beasley Coliseum. WSU has asked all students to be tested by the end of the month.

PULLMAN, Wash. — The Washington National Guard resumed coronavirus testing at the Washington State University campus on Tuesday after a temporary stoppage due to poor air quality in the area.

According to the university, testing resumed at 1 p.m. on Tuesday inside Beasley Coliseum and WSU is asking all students to be tested before the end of the month. Testing is free for all students, but they will need to bring their Cougar Cards, according to the university.

Testing goes from 1 -5 p.m. on Tuesday, and will also be available from 12 - 6 p.m. Wednesday through Thursday, WSU said. Those wishing to get tested are asked to use the entrance off of Orchard Drive.

Members of the Washington National Guard arrived in Pullman in early September to assist with coronavirus testing as Whitman County experienced a surge in cases.

The team of 25 is funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and was most recently helping with testing in Yakima, according to Whitman County Public Health Director Troy Henderson.

The county agreed to have to National Guard come to Pullman and asked that they work directly with Washington State University amid a COVID-19 outbreak among its students.

A mobile care unit operated by Range Health, a nonprofit academic healthcare network, also arrived earlier in the month to offer coronavirus testing for students, according to the university.

The William A. Crosetto Mobile Health Care Unit previously provided COVID-19 testing from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, university leaders said. 

Testing is also available at Pullman Regional Hospital. According to the PRH website, testing costs $100 with a doctor's order, or a minimum of $225 to be charged to insurance without an order.

Testing at PRH takes place seven days a week for those with a doctor's order from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For those without an order, testing is available Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The PRH testing site is located at the back of the hospital near the Emergency Department entrance.

Palouse Medical is also offering testing. Testing costs are billed to insurance, and those without insurance can get a free test paid for by a grant issued to the clinic.

The Palouse Medical testing site is open at the following times:

  • Monday: 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday - Friday: 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • Saturday - Sunday: 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The clinic asks that those who are established patients to ask their primary care provider to order a test for them, and those who aren't established patients will need to have their symptoms assessed by the clinic's ReadyCare department before a test will be ordered.

Adjusted for population size, Pullman has one of the fastest-growing coronavirus outbreaks in the nation, according to a New York Times data dashboard.

Based on numbers from the last two weeks, Pullman has 5.9 new cases of coronavirus per every 1,000 residents, according to the dashboard.

Whitman County's percentage of positive tests sits at 22% for tests processed between Aug. 17 and Aug. 23, according to the Whitman County Public Health Website.

Many of Pullman's new coronavirus cases have occurred since WSU students began moving back to the area, regardless of the university urging students to stay home amid rising coronavirus cases in Whitman County.