PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. — Cars lined the street, spilling into the entrance of Spanaway Park Tuesday morning as drivers and passengers patiently waited for a COVID-19 test at a new testing location in Pierce County.
The temporary COVID-19 testing site at Spanaway Park is the latest location being operated by Pierce County as confirmed cases reach record highs and demand for testing skyrockets.
Cars started lining up as early as two hours before testing started at 9 a.m. Since testing is free and no appointment is required, staff said people should be prepared to wait hours for a test.
The new temporary drive-through site at Spanaway Park will operate from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday until Jan. 22.
Test results are expected back in three to five days. Anyone who does not get their results after five days is asked to call 1-833-723-0490.
Rapid COVID-19 tests are not available at the Spanaway Park site. Health officials said anyone who needs a rapid test can visit the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department website for more information.
Pierce County said no left turns are allowed when exiting the testing site onto Military Road South.
Not too far away, a COVID-19 testing site in Lakewood, which was also operated by Pierce County, had to shut down recently because staff were overwhelmed.
Officials said staff went from testing 600 people a day over the holidays to 1,000 people a day in the new year.
Demand for COVID-19 testing is high across the Puget Sound region.
On Jan. 4, UW Medicine temporarily closed three community testing locations in King County and started prioritizing COVID-19 testing appointments to people who are experiencing symptoms of a respiratory illness or those who have a known positive exposure to the virus.
The three community COVID-19 testing locations in Ballard, Sammamish and Seattle City Hall temporarily closed until positivity rates go down. Once the positive rates decrease, UW Medicine said the testing sites will reopen.