Communicable Disease

Global Menu

Communicable Disease

Director: Jennifer Johnson


COVID-19 | Drive-Thru Testing | Español


Due to high demand for testing, Northwest Laboratory is experiencing significant delays in returning results. Until further notice, people should assume it will take one week to receive results from the drive through test site.

Please note: Skagit County government offices and departments, including the drive through COVID testing site, will be closed Thursday and Friday, November 26 and 27, in observance of Thanksgiving.

Use of the Drive-Thru testing site will be limited to those who live in or work in Skagit County. Those who do not live in or work in Skagit County should seek testing in their own communities or through their medical provider.

HOURS
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 10:00 A.M. TO 4:00 P.M.
Tuesdays and Thrusdays 12:00 P.M. – 7:00 P.M.

LOCATION
Skagit County Fairgrounds, South Gate Entrance, 501 Taylor Street, Mount Vernon, 98273

 

RESULTS  | WHAT TO EXPECT | FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

Video: Public Testing

Conversations COVID-19: Public Testing | Transcript

TESTING

If you do not have insurance, you can still get tested. Nobody will be turned away for not having insurance, ID, or Social Security Number. If you are insured, bring your insurance card with you. If you do not have your insurance card available, you will need to know your insurance company, ID and group number (if applicable), and the name and birthday of the primary insured if it is not you.

Skagit County Public Health is encouraging anyone who fits into the following guidelines to get tested:

  • Those who are essential workers
  • Anyone with any COVID-19 symptoms
  • Anyone whose physician recommended they be tested
  • Anyone who lives or works in a congregate setting
  • Pregnant women
  • Anyone who is a close contact or has a known exposure to COVID-19

Public Health will test anyone who lives or works in Skagit County, is five years of age or older and feels they need to be tested. However, during the current surge, Public Health encourages people to get tested only if they fall into the above categories.

If you have had a known or probable exposure to COVID-19, you cannot get tested right away. You must wait 8 days before being tested. COVID-19 has a relatively long incubation period, so being tested before 8 days has passed could result in a false negative. If you have questions about this, or any other questions related to COVID-19, please call Public Health at 360-416-1500.

If you have serious symptoms, such as fever higher than 100 degrees, cough and shortness of breath, consult your medical provider or seek care through one of the respiratory clinics in Skagit County.

 

 

WHAT TO EXPECT

Beginning on Wednesday, November 18, the drive through COVID-19 test site will be located at the Skagit County Fairgrounds, South Gate Entrance located at 501 Taylor Street, Mount Vernon 98273. Cars will enter through that gate and follow flaggers and signs to the checkpoints and testing barn.

Station 1 - Screening Checkpoint

Beginning on August 31, 2020, testing will be limited to those who live in or work in Skagit County, or out of state residents visiting Skagit County residents. All vehicles will be screened for eligibility.

Station 2 - Registration

Proceed to the station for instructions. Keep windows closed. Provide requested information. When signaled, move to testing station. Follow flagger directions.

Station 3 - Testing

Proceed to the lane indicated by the flagger. Crack window for instructions. Receive self-swab testing kit and follow instructions. When complete, exit drive-through testing.

 

 

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 

Updated 11/15/20

 

When is the drive-thru testing is happening?

The drive through site is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:00 p.m. -7:00 p.m.  

Real time information about changes in testing site hours, wait times and weather conditions are provided on twitter at @SkagitGov

Why are you reducing the number of hours the test site is open?

Beginning on November 18, Skagit County Unified Command made the difficult decision to slightly reduce the hours the test site would operate weekly. This is because the test site has primarily been paid for by the Coronavirus Aide, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding that was provided to the County by Congress in early 2020. CARES Act funding will no longer be available beginning on November 30, 2020. Reducing the hours allowed Skagit County to be able to continue operating the test site with the increased local cost burden.

Where is the drive-thru located?

Beginning on Wednesday, November 18, the test site will be located at the Skagit County Fairgrounds South Gate Entrance. The address is 501 Taylor Street, Mount Vernon, 98273.
We will have traffic control in place to manage vehicles entering and exiting the facility.

Who testing is for?

Beginning on August 31, 2020, testing will be limited to those who live in or work in Skagit County. Skagit County Public Health is encouraging anyone who fits into the following guidelines to get tested:

  • Those who are essential workers
  • Anyone with any COVID-19 symptoms
  • Anyone whose physician recommended they be tested
  • Anyone who lives or works in a congregate setting
  • Pregnant women
  • Anyone who is a close contact or has a known exposure to COVID-19

Skagit County will test anyone who lives or works in Skagit, and is five years of age or older and feels they need to be tested. However, during the current surge in COVID-19 cases, Skagit County encourages only those who fit into the above categories to seek testing.
Adults with serious symptoms such as fever higher than 100 degrees, cough, and or shortness of breath should consult with their medical provider or seek care through one of the respiratory clinics in Skagit County. Those who don’t reside in or work in Skagit County should seek testing through their medical provider or in their own community.
If you have had an exposure to COVID-19, you must wait at least 8 days before getting tested (as long as you don’t have symptoms). COVID-19 has a relatively long incubation period- getting tested before 8 days have passed could result in a false negative.

How old do I have to be to get tested?

Anyone age 5 or older can get tested at the drive-through site. Children younger than 5 should be seen by their pediatrician. A parent or guardian can do the nasal swab for a child depending on their age and ability. Site staff will verify the presence of a parent or guardian during registration, and document verbal parental consent for the test.

How does testing work?

The idea of getting tested may be a little unnerving – but it’s a simple process.  It takes only a few minutes and is a self-swab performed by the individual being tested.  Follow signs and instructions from volunteers to proceed through the registration and testing process. Testing is done inside your vehicle.  You will not need to exit your vehicle to get tested.

What type of testing procedure is provided?

The test is a viral test which tells you if you have a current infection. The test is a self-swab performed by the individual being tested.  This is a test that the public can do themselves.  The self-swab test will happen in your vehicle.  This method is much less uncomfortable than nasopharyngeal swabs (NP).  The test itself takes about 20 seconds.  The individual will swab shallowly in each nostril, circling the swab 4 times on each side. 

Is the self-swab test effective?

The FDA, CDC and Washington State Department of Health have updated their guidelines for COVID-19 testing to make the process easier and less uncomfortable for patients.  The simple, patient-collected COVID-19 testing process is effective.  A self-administered nasal swab is similar to a nasopharyngeal swab in detecting coronavirus.

How long does it take to get tested?

Wait times vary. Public Health recommends giving yourself at least an hour to get tested. Current wait times are regularly posted on our Twitter page: https://twitter.com/SkagitGov

What will you ask when I get tested?

The registration questions will take you a few minutes to answer.  You will need your insurance information to answer these questions.  If you do not have insurance, you can still get tested. Nobody will be turned away for not having insurance, ID, or Social Security Number. If you have those things, please bring them, but they are not required.

If you are insured, you need to bring your insurance card with you. If you do not have your insurance card available, you will need to know your insurance company, ID and group number (if applicable), and the name and birthday of the primary insured if it is not you. It is very important that you provide complete, accurate information in order to be tested and to receive your test results.

What do I need to bring with me when I show up for testing?

If you have it, bring ID with your name and photo, and your insurance card if you have health insurance. When you arrive to the testing facility, follow signs and instructions from volunteers to proceed through the testing process. If you do not have a photo ID, please be prepared to provide your name, birth date, address and a phone number (cell with texting capability preferred) at registration.
If you do not have insurance, you can still get tested. Nobody will be turned away without insurance, ID, or Social Security Number. If you have those things, great, please bring them, but they are not required. If you are insured, bring your insurance card with you. If you do not have your insurance card available, you will need to know your insurance company, ID and group number (if applicable), and the name and birthday of the primary insured if it is not you.

Will you have interpreters on site for non-English speaking individuals?

Yes, we will have Spanish-speaking staff on site.

Is Public Health conducting the tests?

Public Health will observe but not conduct the specimen collection. A swab sample will be collected by the individual through a nasal self-swab; the swab will be placed into a test tube and labeled for testing at the laboratory. This is a method approved by the CDC and used by other testing sites. Public health will have a nurse at the testing stations, but there will be no medical screening offered.

Why is wide spread testing important?

The more people we can test, the safer our community will be.  Testing remains critical so that we can identify individuals who have been infected with COVID-19 and their close contacts.  It is crucial to isolate and quarantine people who are infected or at risk of being infected to contain the spread of the virus.  There is no treatment or vaccination available at this time, so isolation and quarantine is the best way to limit the spread of the virus.

As businesses being to re-open and more people are out and about we will have more community exposure, so testing will help us quickly identify potential exposures and get those people into isolation and quarantine to limit community transmission. 

If I am asymptomatic, how often should I get tested?

In general, we recommend asymptomatic testing only when there has been a known exposure or for those working in high risk work places where social distancing is difficult.  We do not recommend repeated testing for asymptomatic individuals at this time, however if you feel you have had an exposure, asymptomatic testing is available. It is recommended you wait at least 8 days after the probable exposure to seek testing. COVID-19 has a relatively long incubation period, and getting tested before 8 days has passed could result in a false negative.

If you are asymptomatic, we recommend you continue to take precautions and use good social distancing and hygiene practices. Social distancing and good hygiene are the best tools we have to stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep ourselves and our communities safe.

How will you observe social distancing?

You will not need to leave your vehicle. Registration information will be collected through a closed vehicle window when entering the testing site. Tests will be conducted by the individual, and placed outside their vehicle for collection by staff.

What impacts will the surrounding community notice?

Drivers in the area may notice increased traffic near the Fairgrounds, and should be alert for vehicles entering and exiting the facility. Drivers may also see tents, a public health trailer for supplies, cones, traffic controllers, and many other resources.

Is there a plan to mitigate those impacts?

Staff at the site will make sure to manage entering and exiting traffic to avoid impacts to drivers.

How long does it take to get test results back?

It takes an average of 24 to 72 hours to receive test results.

How will I get notified if my test is positive or negative?

Your negative result will be texted to you from a Skagit County Public Health phone number – or called if you can’t receive text messages. Skagit County Public Health will call you if your test is positive, and provide more information about self-isolation and quarantine of close contacts.

If my test is negative, does that mean I’m immune – or safe to go back to my normal routines?

A negative test does NOT mean that you’re immune. It just means that you aren’t currently infected with COVID-19. You can still get infected if you come into contact with someone who is contagious. Continuing to wear masks when in public, keeping 6 feet of physical distance between yourself and others, and frequently washing your hands are the best ways to protect your health.

If I have tested positive and have been in isolation, should I get tested again to be sure I get a negative result and I am not still infectious?

No.  Often a test will still show a positive result at the end of your isolation period, even when you are no longer infectious.  The test is quite sensitive and will pick up old genetic matter, even though the virus is dead.  If you tested positive, please follow Public Health guidance for isolation.  All individuals should be in isolation for 10 days or until 72 hours after symptoms go away, whichever is longer.

If I need to provide documentation to my employer about my test results, how can I do that?

Public Health can provide documentation upon request.

Will this testing allow Skagit County to lift any part of the stay home, stay healthy order?\

Not immediately, but it’s a start. We know that widespread testing must be available to open up the economy and ease the Stay Home, Stay Healthy guidelines. Expanded testing provides improved control of community spread, which will be critical as the Governor’s order is lifted. As more people interact, it increases the risk of spreading the virus; having broader testing allows us to identify individuals who have the virus so that they can self-isolate to not spread the virus further.

Where we are getting the tests from?

We are getting testing supplies from Northwest Laboratory in Bellingham.

How many tests can we do each day?

As community need increases, we have increased our testing capacity. Initially, we hoped to test 200 people per day. We are currently testing around 400 people or more per day.

How long de we plan to conduct drive-through testing?

We will conduct drive-through testing for as long as there is community need.

How costs are being managed?

Skagit County Parks and Recreation manage the Fairgrounds facility. Skagit County Department of Emergency Management and Public Health are providing volunteers and staff. Northwest Laboratory will do all billing of insurance and clients. Cost to the individual is based on the individual’s policy coverage. Public Health Lab will cover costs for uninsured individuals.

Will my insurance cover this test? If not, how much will it cost?

Northwest Laboratory will do all billing of insurance and clients. Cost to the individual is based on the individual’s policy coverage. The individual is responsible for checking their insurance for coverages and out-of-pocket costs. If you have insurance, please bring your insurance information with you to the site.

Can I pay out of pocket if I don’t have insurance?

The federal government will reimburse Northwest Laboratory for the cost of testing for people who can confirm that they do not have insurance.

If I think I’ve been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, but I don’t have symptoms; can I get tested?

Yes. Anyone who is a close contact of a COVID-19 case can get tested. You must wait until 8 days after the probable contact before getting tested. COVID-19 has a relatively long incubation period, and getting tested before 8 days has passed could result in a false negative.


I don't live or work in Skagit County- where can I get tested?

Testing is available through your health care provider, and through many other publically operated testing sites in Washington State. Contact the Health Department or District where you live to find out the best place for you to get tested.

Whatcom County Health Department: 360-778-6000 or health@co.whatcom.wa.us
Snohomish Health District: 425-339-5234 or cdquestions@snohd.org
Island County Health Department: 360-678-2301or pubhealth@islandcountywa.gov
San Juan County Health Department: 360-370-7500
Seattle-King County Health Department: 206-477-3977 or email form available