A free COVID-19 testing site opened in Vancouver on Tuesday, Jan. 12. The Tower Mall COVID-19 Community Testing Site will offer free COVID-19 testing five days a week.
The site will feature drive-thru and walk-up testing and is available for no cost to everyone, regardless of income level, health insurance coverage and immigration status. Testing at the site is recommended for people 4 years of age and older who are experiencing symptoms COVID-19 or who have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for the virus.
The site will operate from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday in the Tower Mall parking lot at 5402 E Mill Plain Blvd., Vancouver. The new site has the capacity to test over 1,000 people per day and is expected to operate for several months.
Visitors are encouraged to pre-register for testing and sign-up for an arrival time atClarkCountyCOVIDTesting.org, but on-site registration will also be available. The testing process is expected to take 20 to 40 minutes with results expected within three days.
Visitors to the testing site will self-administer a COVID-19 test under the observation of a trained staff member. The site uses an oral saliva test and requires visitors to cough deeply three to five times and swab the inside of their mouth for 20 seconds. Visitors should not experience any discomfort during the testing process.
Because safety is a priority at the testing site, face coverings are required for everyone, including those using the drive-thru testing option. Staff working at the testing site will wear appropriate personal protective equipment and follow physical distancing requirements. Those using the drive-thru service will remain in their vehicles. The walk-up area will have signs to ensure physical distancing.
“Testing is an important tool for slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our community,” Clark County Health Officer and Public Health Director Alan Melnick said in a news release. “The Tower Mall COVID-19 Community Testing Site provides free testing without the need for a visit to a healthcare provider and, in doing so, removes barriers people often encounter when trying to get tested in our community.”
The city of Vancouver will maintain day-to-day management and operation of the site. Clark County Public Health is overseeing training on proper test administration and providing all necessary health and safety protocols. Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency is supplying face coverings and other personal protective equipment. Site and staffing costs are primarily covered by the Washington State Department of Health.