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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

1 in 5 of the 7,000 people tested at Spokane Arena had COVID-19

Lauren Emery, a CMA with CHAS Health, performs a COVID-19 test in early December on Lonnie Adams, who said he was not feeling well. The CHAS Health testing site at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena closed in June, but officials are planning to bring back mass testing in the city.  (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

About 7,000 people have been tested for COVID-19 at the Spokane Arena since the testing site opened in early December, and around one out of every five people who went there has tested positive.

As Spokane’s COVID-19 cases have continued to rise, so has the number of people visiting CHAS Health’s COVID-19 testing site. CHAS Health CFO John Browne said a few hundred people a day have visited the site and around 20% of tests conducted by the clinic have been positive.

Spokane’s County’s cases have also continued to rise, with 226 new confirmed infections reported Wednesday, 79 people hospitalized currently and 370 COVID-19-related deaths since the pandemic began.

The drive-thru testing clinic opened Dec. 6 to offer more convenient tests and has seen a steady stream since then. The clinic will be closed New Year’s Day through Sunday, but will be open Monday.

Browne said the testing site will be open as long it is needed, which will likely be at least two to three months into the future.

“The bottom line is, as long as circumstances are what they are, they will be there,” he said.

He said members of the public should be aware that they should only get tested if they believe they may have been exposed to the virus, or have symptoms. He said everyone who requests a test will get one, but people should avoid getting tested just so they can be around others.

Browne advised anyone looking to get tested in the new year should register in advance on the CHAS website (, and be prepared to share their insurance information.

He said no individual person will be responsible for paying for their test. Bills will go directly to an insurer, and if people are uninsured, or they have insurance that will not cover a test, there are government programs available that will cover the cost.