LACEY, Wash. — Drive-thrus are the newest system for coronavirus testing and sites are popping up all over western Washington. One of the newest is at a Providence health clinic in Lacey.
The site is set up in the parking lot of the Hawks Prairie Clinic. It opened Friday, and 40 tests were given to first responders and healthcare workers. Saturday they opened it up to the public and gave 70 tests.
“The busiest we’ve been was yesterday. The cars were down, not blocking the intersection but right toward the end of this road,” said Lisa Humphrey, Director of Nursing and Quality.
Patients drive up and are tested within minutes.
“We’re saying on average, if we’ve seen you before and you’re in our system, about 10 to 15 minutes,” said Humphrey.
They’re testing people considered “high risk," she explained. “So, somebody with asthma or COPD or heart disease or cancer.”
Melissa Gulley meets some of the requirements to be tested for COVID-19. “I was feeling sick this week and I have asthma, and something called eosinophilic esophagitis and it can make it a little hard to breathe sometimes,” she said.
She and her four kids haven’t left the house in over a week, until Sunday.
“I thought, well maybe I’ll go get tested because I’d rather just know and be proactive about it even though we’ve been quarantining,” said Gulley.
The test is done with a swab. “It looks like a long, plastic Q Tip. It’s inserted into the nose and it does go quite a way back. It goes back into this nasopharyngeal space,” Humphrey explained. “It will make your eyes water, it’s not the most comfortable thing to go through, but I wouldn’t say it’s painful.”
Gulley pulled up to the site and in a matter of seconds, the test was done. In a few days, she'll get her results.
“It is so nice to be able to come and have answers and having everybody so
For now, they’re only testing high-risk patients but said they hope to open it up to more people soon.
“We have procured several hundred tests, but those go very quickly. We are working with our lab partner, Lab Corps, to try and keep those supplies coming in,” Humphrey said, “As soon as we are sure that supply chain is well established and we are getting stock replenished, we will look at our screening criteria and hopefully open that up to more people.”