The following was written by the staff of Public Health Insider, the official blog for Public Health — Seattle & King County:
As King County COVID-19 case rates have fallen from the Omicron peak earlier this year, and as the availability of free rapid self-test and community testing options have increased, demand at King County COVID-19 test sites has significantly declined.
In order to better align with demand and transition to long-term testing solutions, Public Health – Seattle & King County will end its operations of our Tukwila, Federal Way and Auburn COVID-19 testing sites.
The last day of King County operations for the Federal Way and Tukwila testing sites will be Friday, May 27, and the last day of King County operations for the Auburn site will be Wednesday, June 1.
Ensuring free COVID-19 testing is easily accessible remains a top priority, especially in communities that are at highest risk. Public Health is working with healthcare partners to expand long-term testing operations in south King County to serve all in need, not just existing patients. These long-term testing solutions may include partners re-opening testing site operations at the existing King County testing site locations, and/or opening testing sites at other locations in south King County. More information may be announced in the coming weeks.
Public Health opened its first COVID-19 testing site in September 2020, when the need for testing was at a critically high level. By mid-December of 2020, Public Health had opened a total of seven drive-thru and walk-up testing sites. During the height of the pandemic, Public Health also partnered with other organizations who opened testing sites in association with school districts and other high-need areas in south King County.
Over two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, with federal funding waning, Public Health is transitioning away from emergency response into long-term COVID prevention management with a continued focus on communities most impacted. This includes transitioning away from providing services, such as COVID-19 testing sites, toward working with community partners to incorporate additional COVID-related community services into their operations.
HOW TO GET TESTED
PCR Test Sites
Many COVID-19 testing sites continue to be available in King County, including in communities throughout south King County. A list of testing sites is available at: kingcounty.gov/covidtesting.
Free rapid self-tests are available from the following sources:
• Washington State Department of Health — sayyescovidhomestest.org or call 1-800-525-0127
– Households can order additional tests monthly
• Federal government — covidtest.gov or 1-800-232-0233
– Every home in the U.S. may place two orders, for a total of 4 free at-home tests
To date, King County has worked with community partners to distribute over one million free COVID self-tests, via community partners. We will continue these efforts, with a special focus on partnering with organizations that serve communities hardest hit by COVID-19.
Test to Treat Clinics
COVID-19 testing is available through new Test to Treat clinics. Through this program, people who are at high-risk for developing severe symptoms from COVID-19 can receive free testing and – if they are positive and treatments are appropriate for them – receive a prescription from a health care provider and have their prescription filled at a participating pharmacy or clinic at one convenient location. Find a Test to Treat location near you.