Free, Accessible Testing Remains Key to Curbing Further Spread of Delta Variant
SEATTLE (September 14, 2021) – Mayor Jenny A. Durkan today announced that City of Seattle COVID-19 testing sites created over the pandemic have administered one million tests since beginning operations in 2020. Testing sites include fixed locations with UW Medicine in Aurora, SODO, Rainier Beach, and West Seattle, as well as seven Curative kiosks placed throughout the city. The free testing infrastructure has been used by more than one in three Seattle residents.
“We worked quickly to launch a nation-leading free testing program to curb the spread of the virus and keep our communities healthy and safe, and Seattle continues to have the lowest cases, hospitalizations, and deaths of every major American city,” said Mayor Durkan. “Our partners at UW Medicine have seamlessly taken over the operations of these sites and ensuring this life-saving resource remains available to our residents. With the rise of more dangerous variants, please wear a mask, wash your hands, and get tested if you have symptoms or are exposed. If you or someone you know is not yet vaccinated, please get vaccinated. It’s safe, it’s free, and it’s the surest way to prevent the Delta variant from spreading further in our communities.”
“The Delta variant has driven a rapid rise in COVID-19 infections across our region, and risk of infection is much greater than earlier in the summer, especially for the unvaccinated. If you haven’t yet been vaccinated, please act now, before you end up in local hospitals that are filling up with COVID-19 patients,” said Dennis Worsham, Interim Health Director for Public Health – Seattle & King County. “We need to layer protections to push back Delta, so masking for everyone is a must in indoor public spaces and outdoors when we can’t distance. And if you get symptoms, please get tested, regardless of your vaccination status. Knowing if you are infected is the first step to getting care and preventing further spread. Our network of testing sites across Seattle and King County are convenient, rapid and ready to help. I’m grateful to partners at the City of Seattle, UW Medicine and medical providers throughout our area for their sustained efforts in the fight against COVID-19.”
“UW Medicine, Seattle and King County have been early and strong adopters of common-sense approaches to fighting COVID-19, and we are now seeing the long-term benefits of those early investments,“ said Dr. Keith Jerome who directs the UW Medicine Clinical Virology Laboratory and Virology Division. “While a new surge is clearly occurring, we are well-situated to have ample community testing capacity to provide our citizens with the information they need to help stop the virus’ spread and get the care they need.”
The Seattle Fire Department (SFD) began testing first responders on March 14, 2020, and one month later, began testing residents and workers in long-term care facilities that were experiencing a high volume of COVID-19 cases. SFD then launched its public COVID-19 testing infrastructure on June 5, 2020, and has since launched four fixed testing sites in Aurora, SODO, Rainier Beach, and West Seattle, and partnered with Curative to add seven free COVID-19 testing kiosks citywide. As of August 1, 2021, UW Medicine has taken over the operations of the City’s fixed testing sites.
Demand for COVID-19 testing in Seattle has increased over the last 60 days. Currently, an average of 2,944 tests are performed daily across Aurora, SODO, Rainier Beach, and West Seattle, as compared to 1,177 in mid July.
“Seattle firefighter/EMTs and paramedics, and health care workers across the nation continue to work tirelessly on the frontlines to help sick patients during this pandemic. In early 2020, Seattle Fire expanded our role of how we serve our residents by creating a citywide infrastructure for community testing. Through a partnership with the City of Seattle, AMR and UW Medicine, we administered nearly 800,000 COVID-19 tests and hundreds of thousands of vaccinations before transitioning our efforts last month,” said Seattle Fire Chief Harold scoggins. “We are grateful to UW Medicine for continuing to perform this important work in a time where COVID-19 cases are soaring in our region. Anyone with symptoms should immediately seek testing to help keep themselves and others safe.”
Up-to-date COVID-19 tests administered at each site breaks down as follows:
Curative kiosks: 83,085
Rainier Beach: 102,866
West Seattle: 100,965
COVID-19 testing remains crucial to curb the spread of the more contagious variants. Residents – both vaccinated and unvaccinated – should get a COVID-19 test if they have symptoms or if they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. A complete guide on how, when, and where to get tested is available on Public Health – Seattle & King County’s website.
The best way to combat COVID-19 variants is for everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated. Residents can visit https://vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov/ to find vaccination locations and search by their desired ZIP Code. Public Health – Seattle & King County has collected resources for residents in King County seeking a vaccination, including transportation and child care assistance. Residents who need language interpretation, help finding a vaccination or testing site, or ADA accommodation can call the King County COVID-19 Call Center at 206-477-3977, 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.