WINTRY WELCOME

WINTRY WELCOME — On the frosty Friday morning, Dec. 4, Sunnyside City Councilman Dean Broersma, center, speaks about the disproportionate impact of Sunnyside and the surrounding communities during the COVID-19 pandemic and the benefits of the new testing site. City Manager Martin Casey, Yakima County Commissioner LaDon Linde, and Yakima Health District Local Emergency Response Coordinator Nathan Johnson, from left to right, were also at the press conference to discuss the opening of the new testing site.

SUNNYSIDE — For at least the next four weeks, residents of the lower valley, regardless of health insurance or immigration status, can now be tested for free at the Sunnyside Community Center as of Sunday, Dec. 6.

The 1521 S. First St. location will offer drive-thru testing for anyone who may feel symptomatic, have been possibly exposed or are concerned about their COVID-19 status.

City Councilman Dean Broersma spoke at the Friday, Dec. 4 press conference on behalf of Mayor Francisco Guerrero. When asked what a new testing site would mean for the community, Broersma expressed, “I think for the City of Sunnyside and the surrounding communities to have this kind of accessibility during a time like this, I think it’s going to bring peace of mind to people, it’s going to give them the opportunity to know where they stand on this.”

To ensure the testing site will have a consistent flow of traffic, community members are strongly urged to pre-register online at wacovid19.org/sunnysidetesting or by calling the number 211.

The tests are self-administered nasal swabs, allowing patients to collect their own nasal samples under the careful supervision and instruction from on-site medical staff.

The new testing site will provide testing for anyone over the age of three months, however, those who are under 18 years of age will need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

When asked at the press conference why the testing site has only now been implemented in Sunnyside – nine months since the March shutdown – YHD Local Emergency Response Coordinator Nathan Johnson gave an explanation.

“The idea of bringing this site now – we’ve done sites in the past – this is just a streamlined approach and really, an approach that is built from community partnerships,” Johnson stated.

Johnson added there is a concern for the rising case numbers throughout the Yakima Valley, but the health district has recognized the critical need for a free testing site for community members to have access to.

The YHD Local Emergency Response coordinator confirmed, “The site, for now, is funded through the end of Dec. 30, but we are prepared to be extending both the Sunnyside site and the Yakima site for several months after the first of the year.”

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