The City of Vancouver, Clark County Public Health and Clark Regional Emergency Services Agencies (CRESA) have partnered with Washington State Department of Health and the non-profit organization Health Commons Project to open a no-barrier COVID-19 rapid testing site. The site is expected to open early January 2021 in the Tower Mall parking lot (5411 E. Mill Plain Blvd.) and operate for several months.
The Tower Mall site was selected due to its centralized location and proximity to multiple bus lines. It will operate using a model that has been successfully deployed in other communities throughout the state, returning test results within 36 to 48 hours.
The schedule is still being finalized, but the site will operate multiple days per week. Anticipated operating hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Testing will be free for everyone, regardless of income level, immigration status or insurance coverage. No one will receive a bill for testing. However, those who do have health insurance will be asked to provide that information so their insurance can be billed.
City of Vancouver will maintain day-to-day management and operation of the site. City staff working at the testing site will wear appropriate personal protective equipment and follow physical distancing requirements. Visitors to the site will be asked to wear face coverings. Clark County Public Health will oversee training on proper test administration and provide all necessary health and safety protocols. Site and staffing costs are primarily covered by the Washington State Department of Health.
COVID-19 testing at Tower Mall will use a self-administered oral saliva PCR test. Staff will have minimal interaction with visitors to the site. Individuals seeking testing will be handed a swab and asked to rub the swab on the inside of their cheeks. The site will offer drive-thru and walk-up testing. Those using the drive-thru service will remain in their vehicles. The walk-up area will have signs to ensure physical distancing. Advanced registration will be encouraged, but drop-in testing will also be available.
“Testing is an important strategy for slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our community,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County health officer and Public Health director. “We can reduce the amount of virus spreading from one person to another by quickly identifying and isolating COVID-19 cases and notifying their close contacts to quarantine.”
“We are committed to getting the Tower Mall COVID-19 testing site up and running quickly,” said Vancouver City Manager Eric Holmes. “Increased access to testing is a key factor in slowing the spread of coronavirus in our community. I’m grateful for this coalition of local and statewide partners who are making it possible for us to safely and efficiently provide this valuable service in Vancouver.”
Staff training and site preparation have already begun. Both the city and Clark County Public Health intend to collaborate with community partners in the coming weeks to ensure the success of this project. Additional information about the Tower Mall COVID-19 testing site will be available to the public in early January.
Source: City of Vancouver