The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) is launching a community testing initiative in collaboration with Local Health Jurisdictions (LHJs) and Tribal Nations to support public health.
Beginning this week, kiosks across the state will offer free COVID-19 and flu tests as well as other healthcare supplies.
This initiative is part of DOH’s commitment to promoting health equity by reaching underserved communities and disproportionately affected populations.
Seventeen kiosks have already been ordered by LHJs and Tribal Nations.
To date, two kiosks have been activated in Parkland and Spanaway.
DOH staff told KXRO that the following locations have been approved and will receive kiosks in the coming weeks:
- Tacoma-Pierce County
- Thurston County
- Chelan Douglas
- Grays Harbor
- Okanogan County
- Asotin County
- NE-Tri County
- Yakima Health District
- Skamania County
- Whatcom County
Once installed and operable, kiosk locations will be shared on the DOH Testing website; for now, you may use this link to locate an installed kiosk: Find A Kiosk | Locate the testandgo Healthcare Kiosk You Need for Diverse Healthcare Needs
“In unveiling these innovative kiosks, DOH is taking a significant step towards ensuring the well-being of our communities,” said Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, Secretary of Health. “These 24/7 accessible kiosks exemplify our commitment to health equity, especially for underserved populations. Together with Tribes and local partners, we are making a meaningful difference in community health and fostering a safer and healthier Washington for all.”
Kiosks will be able to be found in places such as food banks, transit stations, churches, schools, and libraries and serve as a convenient solution for communities to access a variety of testing options with anonymity and personalization.
Key features of the kiosks include:
- Convenient access: Kiosks make it possible to access health care tests and supplies at the push of a button in accessible locations 24/7.
- No cost to communities: Kiosks are free to Tribal communities and LHJs. DOH covers all costs associated with COVID-19 and flu tests.
- Test options: Kiosks dispense free COVID-19 rapid antigen tests, multiplex rapid antigen tests (which detect flu types A and B as well as COVID-19), and self-swab PCR tests.
- Flexible product allocation: Each kiosk holds about 700 tests. At least half need to be COVID-19 and flu tests provided by DOH. LHJs and Tribal Nations can choose to add other essential health care products to the kiosks at their own cost, such as naloxone, pregnancy tests, tests for sexually transmitted infections, fentanyl test strips, and over-the-counter medications and products. If no additional products are added, kiosks will be filled with COVID-19 and flu tests.
DOH’s respiratory illness data shows that although respiratory virus activity has decreased in recent weeks, influenza emergency department visits remain above epidemic levels. The number of hospital beds used by COVID-19 patients was higher in January than at any time this season.
People can find more information about testing for COVID-19 on the DOH website along with other resources to help them understand the importance of testing and how to interpret their results.