EVERETT — Usually, this parking lot at the south end of Broadway is used by public school employees or Everett AquaSox fans trying to catch a baseball game.
But on Monday white tents and orange traffic cones covered the pavement, while healthcare workers in blue protective gear tested people for coronavirus.
The parking lot has been transformed into a test site, where patients can stay in their cars while they get screened for the virus. Similar drive-up testing centers have been built by hospitals and clinics, but this is the first stand-alone site in Snohomish County.
It’s run by the Snohomish Health District and the Medical Reserve Corps, along with several partners. Each test is free and by appointment only.
“This is not the only testing opportunity in Snohomish County,” Snohomish Health District spokesperson Heather Thomas said. “This is more of a relief valve, trying to expand access in our community. Healthcare providers are still doing their testing.”
The pop-up center is at 3900 Broadway, on property owned by Everett Public Schools. It’s next to Everett Memorial Stadium, where the AquaSox play Minor League Baseball.
On Monday 160 appointments were available, and Tuesday there are 240. Eventually that number is expected to reach 250.
Patients have to meet certain criteria to get tested.
First, they’re required to have symptoms such as a cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or a fever of 100.4 degrees or more.
They also must be considered high risk — pregnant, 60 or older, or have underlying health conditions — or work with the public.
“The focus is those who work in healthcare,” Thomas said. “That includes pharmacies and veterinary clinics, as well as first responders and critical infrastructure.”
“Critical infrastructure” covers a wide range of people who may work for Boeing, as government employees, and in grocery stores or transportation, she said.
Those who do not meet these criteria but still feel they need to be tested are encouraged to contact their healthcare providers.
Appointments at the drive-up site can be made online at redcap.link/Snohomish-COVID-19, after filling out a short survey.
The temporary location is open now through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. As of Monday afternoon, slots were still available through the end of the week.
Additional appointments are expected to open one week at a time. Next week, the health district hopes to operate Monday through Friday, Thomas said.
For now, the center is expected to be open for three weeks, but that could change.
To get tested, each person needs photo ID and a code from the website where the appointment was made. Once at the parking lot, the patient will be directed through a checkpoint and told to roll the car window down about a quarter of the way.
A worker then takes the sample.
“It’s a swab that goes up in their nose pretty far back,” Thomas said. “It’s not comfortable.”
The test takes around 10 minutes and results are available in three to five days.
About 30 staff and volunteers are helping at the site. Those who take the actual samples are from Community Health Center of Snohomish County, the Everett Clinic, Providence Medical Group, Swedish Medical Group, and the Tulalip Tribes. Workers are coming from a different provider every day.
Tests were sent from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.