Mobile testing

County Health Manager Stephanie Michael waits with volunteer Frances Turner as health department employee Darian Johnson waives to the next person arriving for a mobile testing appointment. The county opened the mobile testing site on April 2 in Long Beach.

PACIFIC COUNTY — After two days of mobile testing in Long Beach and Raymond, 25 tests came back negative for covid-19.

This apparent good news came as Gov. Jay Inslee ordered a month-long extension of his “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” emergency order. The order, which banned all gatherings and temporarily shuttered non-essential businesses, will continue through May 4.

As of April 6, Pacific County hospitals and health officials have conducted 110 tests for the disease, all of which returned negative results. Testing will continue twice a week, with testing in north county scheduled for Wednesdays in Raymond and testing in south county scheduled for Thursdays in Long Beach.

The county received 100 test kits from the national stockpile to conduct the testing.

While testing was initially limited to symptomatic healthcare workers, public safety workers and pharmacy and grocery staff, the list was expanded to include all essential employees working in Pacific County and exhibiting covid-19 symptoms. With the expansion, people eligible for testing are those working in the public, not from home, and experiencing symptoms such as: fever over 100.4 degrees, dry coughing and/or shortness of breath.

South county testing was done at the South Pacific County Administration building, 7013 Sandridge Road, Long Beach. In order to limit how much personal protective equipment was used during the testing, people arriving for their appointments were told to keep their windows rolled up as they navigated the orange cones directing them to the testing area.

When the patients checked in, they held up an ID and their insurance cards to their car windows and volunteers took photos in order to limit contact with the people in the cars. In the garage of the building, three Pacific County public health nurses, Amanda Berube, Lori Ashley and Leah Heintz, waited in masks and gowns to conduct the tests.

“They deal with communicable diseases when the rest of us aren’t even thinking about it,” said Stephanie Michael, health services program managers for the Pacific County Health and Human Services Department.

The volunteers and health department staff tried to make the process as quick as possible, as most of the people driving through were ill and probably didn’t want to be there, Michael said.

A lot of credit goes to Howard Chang, who is volunteering in the county’s Emergency Operations Center, as well as Tessa Clements, both of whom worked on the logistics for mobile testing, Michael said.

People who believe they may qualify to be tested are asked to call the Pacific County Emergency Operations Center at 360-875-9407 or 360-642-9407 for further screening and scheduling.

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