Omicron, vacation travel pushes demand for COVID-19 testing

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SPOKANE, Washington – If you need a COVID-19 test, be aware that you may have to wait hours for one depending on where and when you go.

Demand is currently high for testing due to vacation travel, gatherings of people, and the spread of the omicron variant.

The number of people tested doubled in the northwest interior during the holiday week.

“We definitely get a lot of this traffic that comes this way. We have record numbers across the state and here locally. Our scheduled appointments are at an all time high, ”said Hailey Normandin, Spokane Regional Director for Discovery Health. The healthcare provider operates two of Spokane’s mass testing sites at the Spokane County Fair and Exhibition Center and Spokane Falls Community College.

Candice Beazley was one of several people lining up to get tested at SFCC on Tuesday morning. She stood in line for about 20 minutes before getting tested. SFCC wasn’t his first stop to find a test.

“I went to Walgreens and they were full. They told me to come here, ”she said.

Several vendors are seeing an increase in the demand for testing. Normandin says he tested more than 700 people between the two locations on Monday. Just two weeks ago, Discovery Health said it tested around 200 people on average.

Depending on when people go to get tested at mass testing sites, they can wait anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours. Normandin said they were busiest when they first opened at 8 a.m. in Spokane Valley or 8:30 a.m. at SFCC. They are also busier after work between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Normandin says because they are so busy they only allow people with appointments to get tested after 4 p.m.

However, if you don’t want to queue, there are places where you can get home test kits.

Spokane County and City Libraries are offering a test kit by mail through a partnership with the Spokane Regional Health District.

Pat Davis, the Argonne library supervisor, says they’ve also seen a slight increase in the number of people entering the tests.

“I think most people, you know, have a pretty good idea of ​​where a library is. A lot of people are comfortable going to the library when it may not be as comfortable going to a health center, ”said Davis.

Northern Idaho is also seeing a similar increase in demand for testing. The Panhandle Health District (PHD) says the number of tests ordered on Monday doubled from last Monday.

Health experts say it’s important to get tested, even if you think it is a cold. It’s better to know you don’t have COVID than to spread it.

For more information on where you can get tested in northern Idaho, Click here.

For a list of places where you can get tested in Spokane County, click here.

RELATED: Where to Get COVID-19 Tested in Spokane County

RELATED: Spokane Community COVID-19 Test Sites Announce Vacation Hours

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