Attendance was light during a free drive-thru and walk-up, non-invasive COVID-19 testing event held at Concern For Neighbors Food Bank Friday. Verdant Health Commission and Medical Teams International coordinated the event, which was open to anyone in the community.
Staff onsite said that previous such free testing events had much greater turnout that resulted in lines of cars stretched into the street and around the corner. No such backups occurred on Friday.
Jennifer Piplic, Verdant’s director of marketing and communications, said by email that 23 people were tested at the site during the event. People tested were told to expect their test results in two to five days and provided with a link to check if those were available sooner.
Amanda Giron, who helped manage the testing site for Medical Teams International, seemed a bit surprised by the low volume of tests conducted compared to similar local events she worked last year. She thought it possible that people are now more focused on getting vaccinated rather than tested. Giron said several of those who did show up were there to inquire about the vaccines and see if they were available onsite.
“I think that COVID testing is associated with vaccines,” she said, but that didn’t deter the staff’s efforts. “We try to encourage them to get tested and most of them are open to testing.”
Workers also helped people by connecting them with information and resources about testing, eligibility and vaccines.
Concern For Neighbors Food Bank director Mike Begeman speculated that a quick turnaround in planning the event may have hindered turnout. “We actually just decided to do it last Friday and so we only got the word out starting Monday and gave flyers out to clients on Tuesday,” he said.
Even with signs of hope on the horizon, the pandemic is definitely not yet past.
“It’s important for our residents to continue to be vigilant about preventing the spread of COVID-19, even as vaccine rollout increases in the coming months,” Piplic said. “Wearing masks, washing hands, and keeping your distance from others remains critical, and testing is still very important as well to help slow the spread of the virus.”
Similar upcoming testing events are planned for:
Wednesday, Jan. 27 from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Meadowdale High School, 6002 168th St. S.W., Lynnwood
Friday, Jan. 29 from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Mountlake Terrace High School, 21801 44th Ave. W., Mountlake Terrace
Thursday, Feb. 4 from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Meadowdale High School, 6002 168th St. S.W., Lynnwood
Friday, Feb. 5 from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Mountlake Terrace High School, 21801 44th Ave. W., Mountlake Terrace
— Story and photos by Nathan Blackwell