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First community COVID-19 testing site opens at Spokane Falls Community College

UPDATED: Tue., Oct. 19, 2021

With a line of cars behind her, Pamela Flippins swabs her nasal cavity in a COVID-19 test Monday. Discovery Health MD is operating a COVID drive-thru testing site that opened Monday at Spokane Falls Community College.  (Colin Mulvany/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
With a line of cars behind her, Pamela Flippins swabs her nasal cavity in a COVID-19 test Monday. Discovery Health MD is operating a COVID drive-thru testing site that opened Monday at Spokane Falls Community College. (Colin Mulvany/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

More than 25 cars and trucks were lined up for COVID-19 testing in the early afternoon Monday at Spokane Falls Community College.

The new SFCC testing site opened Monday morning, the first of two new testing sites set to start up this month in Spokane County.

With the fall surge of cases fueled by the delta variant of coronavirus, local health care providers had to scale back testing efforts to focus on providing care in clinics and hospitals. The result was a high demand for testing for COVID-19.

The Spokane Regional Health District asked for state support, and the Department of Health has contracted with Discovery Health MD to operate two testing sites in Spokane County through the end of 2021.

By 1 p.m. Monday, about 150 people had been tested at the site.

The location will be able to test 450 to 500 people per day, said Daniel Pulse, chief development officer at Discovery Health MD.

A second community COVID testing site will open in Spokane Valley, likely next week, Pulse said. Discovery Health MD is still working to secure a location and hire staff for that testing site.

Since Monday was the first day of testing at the SFCC site, Pulse said it was hard to tell what demand will look like.

“We might have less volume tomorrow than today, it’s hard to say,” he said.

Discovery Health MD has run testing sites west of the Cascades similar to the two they will operate in Spokane County. Pulse said typically people are trying to get tested before the weekend, making days like Thursday very busy.

The site is located in SFCC’s parking lot off of West Whistalks Way and will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. The site is closed on Wednesdays and the weekend.

Pulse said the sites could scale up and be open different days or on the weekends if the demand is there.

Discovery Health MD has contracted with the Department of Health and partnered with the Spokane Regional Health District to offer testing in the county through the end of 2021.

You can make an appointment for a test online or just drive up for testing. Health insurance is asked for but not required, and the testing is free.

Testing is for people who have COVID-19 symptoms or who have been exposed to someone who tested positive for the virus.

Test results are available in two to three days through an online portal.If you test positive, you will receive a phone call.

Once the Spokane Valley testing site is open, Pulse said Discovery Health MD will work to offer walk-up testing at the sites. Currently, the SFCC testing site is a drive-thru format, with two lanes available.

Pulse said his organization might open a consumer testing site in Spokane as well, which would offer testing required to travel internationally that people could pay for.

“I don’t see us slowing down soon,” Pulse said.

Arielle Dreher's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is funded in part by Report for America and by members of the Spokane community. This story can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper’s managing editor.

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