TEMPORARY COVID-19 TESTING SITE — Yakima County SunDome, 1301 S. Fair Ave. will be open for testing through Friday, April 10 for ill priority workers.

YAKIMA — A new drive-thru COVID-19 free testing clinic by appointment only for high-risk county residents with COVID-19 symptoms working in healthcare, public safety or critical infrastructure is now open. The Yakima Health District announced its opening on Sunday, April 4.

The Washington National Guard set up the tents at the Yakima Valley SunDome, 1301 S. Fair Ave. and as of Tuesday, its opening day, the Guard had personnel there to be at all the stations, Emergency Operations Center Communications Casey Schilperoort announced.

They have two tents for the drive through portion. They also have a decontamination station for any volunteers or military personnel. Additionally, there is a communications tent.

Schilperoort said the Emergency Operations Center and the Yakima Health District are working with the Washington National Guard and the State Department of Health “…to make sure the drive through testing site runs smoothly, has the equipment, and personnel necessary to make it run.”

Testing appointments will be offered from Tuesday, April 7 through Friday, April 10, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. in the parking lot on the north side of the SunDome.

Priority workforce and caregiver Cindy Howe, a Grandview School District Nurse, realizes the importance of making sure that frontline people are healthy in order to care for others.

“I’m appreciative of the new testing facility, where high at-risk frontline workers [who are feeling sick] can be tested and get results in a timely matter. I think this is a wonderful service,” Howe emphasized.

The nurse believes the online program can help decrease the spread of the virus and keep high risk people from infecting others.

The website at www.yakimacounty.us/2389/drive-thru-covid-19-testing has been set up for individuals to answer a series of screening questions and if they meet the testing criteria, will be given an appointment time and a testing identifier number.

Eligibility criteria for priority work force personnel with coronavirus symptoms of a cough, fever of at least 100.4 degrees, sore throat and/or shortness of breath; working in healthcare, public safety, or critical infrastructure like grocery stores, restaurants, shelters, gas stations, public utilities, child care, or correctional facilities; 60 years of age or older; suffer with underlying medical conditions or a weakened immune system; or pregnant.

Individuals must have an appointment, a testing identifier number, and photo ID ready when entering gate 15 off Pacific Ave. They should arrive 15-minutes prior to their appointment while remaining in their cars.

Officials expect to test up to 250 people each day and if resources allow, additional testing information will be released.

“As a caregiver for my 80-year-old father, I know there is limited availability of COVID-19 tests,” Howe admitted.

“I’m glad to know our at- risk people can be tested,” Howe added, also stating she will go back to work to update the district’s website with COVID-19 safety guidelines.

People will be notified by phone call or text message with the results in about five days.

For additional information, contact the Yakima Emergency Operation Center (509) 574-1919.

Patrick Shelby can be contacted at 509-837-4500, ext. 110 or email PShelby@SunnysideSun.com

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