Recognizing the need for additional free COVID-testing where communities have been disproportionately impacted, two new COVID-19 test sites are opening in South King County.
“Closing the gaps in testing access has been a top priority for Public Health as we continue to see the disproportionate impact COVID-19 is having on communities of color and those living in south King County”, said Patty Hayes, Director of Public Health – Seattle & King County.
According to the latest data, 9,961 of Auburn’s* residents have been tested for COVID-19. The city’s average of 13,884.9 per 100,000 residents tested is lower than King County’s overall 16,234.8 per 100,000 residents testing rate. Despite lower testing rates, the city has a higher rate of positive tests, with 1,183 total positives. Auburn has had 126 hospitalizations and 22 deaths due to COVID-19 illness.
New Testing Sites
Beginning Tuesday, September 1, Auburn’s new COVID-19 testing site will be open Monday-Saturday; 9:30 am-4:30 pm. Staffed by regional fire service agencies, Auburn’s testing site is located on the East side of the GSA property (2701 C St SW, Auburn, WA 98001). Register for appointments at the Auburn location
Renton’s COVID-testing site opens Tuesday, September 8. Located at HealthPoint operated drive-thru testing site (805 SW 10th Avenue, Renton, 98057), is available Monday – Saturday, 8:30 am – 5:30 pm. Register for appointments at the Renton location (Registration for appointments at Renton will open on September 5).
Pre-registering for an appointment is strongly recommended, but not required. Clients are asked to bring their insurance card and identification if they have it, but it is not required. The Public Health — Seattle & King County release states, “clients will not be charged for testing. No one will be turned away if they do not have insurance or a driver’s license. Language interpretation available at testing sites.”
These two sites are adding to the four rotating test sites currently operating in South King County. The Auburn location (Auburn City Adventist Church, 402 29th St SE, Auburn) has tested 1866 individuals in the 12 weeks it has been operational. The church has fed over 3,000 families through the testing site. This location will continue weekly testing on Tuesdays 7:00 am – 1:00 pm through November.
Building on Cooperative Partnerships
“The testing sites are tremendous examples of the strong partnerships needed to address such a critical need of the community,” said Hayes.
“We talked among ourselves in the fire service, about what we could do and how we could help public health get services out there to people where they live,” said Valley Regional Fire Authority Chief Brent Swearingen. “The fire service has done street medicine, if you will, for a long time. We saw that there could be a good nexus there, but we really didn’t have the infrastructure set up to do that.”
“The thing with the pandemic is, we know that cooperation is critical,” continued Swearingen. “It’s critical on the individual level, and it’s also critical on the organizational level. Cooperation between the fire service has always been excellent in the county. When you drive into the site, you’re going to find firefighters wearing a Valley Regional Fire patch, you will find South King patches, Puget Sound patches, Renton patches. We all support each other, and we’ll be there when needed.”
Agencies working the Auburn testing site include Valley Regional Fire Authority, Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority, Renton Regional Fire Authority, South King Fire & Rescue, King County Medic One, Enumclaw Fire Department, Tukwila Fire Department, King County Fire Dist. #20, Eastside Fire & Rescue, Redmond Fire Department, Burien/North Highline Fire Department. “Our staff will sign up for open positions at the testing site on their off-duty time, so it will not affect their regular shift work,” said Valley Regional Fire Authority Public Information & Education Officer Kimberly Terhune.
The new sites are anticipated to increase testing capacity by more than 1,500 tests per day.
King County Executive Dow Constantine urges residents of “Auburn, Renton, and all of South King County to take advantage of these and other testing sites in their communities, so that they can keep themselves and their loved ones safe,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Before flu season arrives, we need to do all we can to lower the rates of COVID-19 across our region.”
If you have symptom(s) and/or you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 within the past 14 days, get tested immediately!
COVID-19 symptoms include:
- fever or chills
- shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- muscle or body aches
- new loss of taste or smell
- sore throat
- congestion or runny nose
- nausea or vomiting
Tests will be processed by two local labs, operated by UW Medicine and Atlas Genomics. The goal for returned test results is two days.
King County offers support for those who test positive that may not have a location to isolate safely. “King County isolation and quarantine sites are available to make it easier to get through a difficult situation and to reduce the risk of transmission for those who cannot safely isolate at home, such as for those living with a family member who is elderly or medically fragile, or people experiencing homelessness. Call the King County COVID-19 Call Center (206) 477-3977 to see if isolation and quarantine services are right for you,” states the public health press release.
*This data only reflects data for King County. Auburn is in both King and Pierce County. Pierce County’s dashboard does not have a breakout for Auburn.
Last Updated 09/09/2020, 1:38 PM – updated header photo