A new COVID-19 testing site opened this week in Vancouver and will offer free coronavirus testing five days a week.
The Tower Mall COVID-19 community testing site is located in the parking lot of the Tower Mall, at 5403 E. Mill Plain Blvd., Vancouver. It will offer COVID-19 testing from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
The site is expected to operate for several months and, at full operation, has the capacity to test 1,000 to 1,500 people per day.
The site will feature drive-thru and walk-up testing and is available at no cost to everyone, regardless of income level, health insurance coverage or immigration status. Testing at the site is recommended for people ages 4 and older who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or who have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Visitors are encouraged to pre-register for testing and sign-up for an arrival time at ClarkCountyCOVIDTesting.org, but on-site registration will also be available. The testing process is expected to take 20 to 40 minutes.
Visitors to the site will self-administer the COVID-19 test under the observation of a trained staff member. The site uses an oral saliva PCR test, and visitors shouldn’t experience any discomfort from the testing process. Visitors will cough deeply three to five times and swab the inside of their mouths for 20 seconds. Results are expected within three days.
Safety is a priority at the test 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,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County health officer and Public Health director. “The Tower Mall COVID-19 Community Testing Site provides free testing without the need for a visit to a health care provider and, in doing so, removes barriers people often encounter when trying to get tested in our community.”
The test site is made possible through a partnership between Clark County Public Health, city of Vancouver, Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency (CRESA), Washington State Department of Health and Curative.
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. CRESA is supplying face coverings and other personal protective equipment. Site and staffing costs are primarily covered by the Washington State Department of Health. And Curative is the lab conducting the testing.