Okanogan County residents will be able to get a free test for COVID-19 this month at six sites around the county. The free tests, supported by the Washington National Guard, are available to all county residents and are confidential and voluntary.
With COVID cases surging in the county, Okanogan County Public Health asked for help from Washington National Guard medical units, who have supported food banks and community-based testing since the beginning of the pandemic. Their assistance will reduce the burden on local health care facilities.
National Guardsman Randy Robbins, an Okanogan County resident and physician’s assistant with Family Health Centers, will oversee the testing.
Public Health recommends that anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms or has had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 be tested as soon as possible.
Free tests in the next week
• Thursday, Aug. 13, LifeLine in Omak, 7 a.m.-noon
• Friday, Aug. 14,
LifeLine in Omak,
• Saturday, Aug. 15, Brewster High School, 7 a.m.-noon
• Sunday, Aug. 16, Winthrop Barn, 1-6 p.m.
• Tuesday, Aug. 18, Pateros-Brewster Resource Center in Pateros,
Testing times and locations will be updated at www.okanogancountycovid19.org.
For more information, call Public Health at (509) 422-7140.
The county now has enough tests to do community-wide testing. “I think testing is our way out of this, to break the chain of progression of disease,” so that anyone who’s infected can be isolated, Okanogan County Health Officer John McCarthy said at the county’s Board of Health meeting on Tuesday (Aug. 11).
“In order to get our economy, schools, and health back on track, and to control the spread of the disease, it would be helpful for all county residents who are interacting with others to get tested,” McCarthy said. “A large proportion of the transmission of this virus is thought to be due to people without any symptoms who have no idea they have the disease.”
McCarthy also urged people to wear masks, practice physical distancing, and minimize group gatherings.
People with COVID-19 experience a wide range of symptoms, from mild fatigue to severe illness. Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus, but some people are infected but never develop symptoms.
Tests will be offered six days a week at rotating locations.