New COVID-19 testing site opened today at the Capital Mall

The site is built to test four people every three minutes, up to about 500 per day

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A new COVID-19 testing site opened today in the Capital Mall parking lot, courtesy of Northwest Laboratory, a Bellingham-based medical lab.

Jennifer Bull, CEO of Northwest Pathology, the parent company of Northwest Laboratory, said today that the site has seen a steady stream of cars come through the drive-thru style testing location.

“Today’s been very smooth,” she said.

Bull said this afternoon that the site is built to test four people every three minutes, adding up to about 500 per day. This afternoon, staff saw an average of around two people every five minutes. The slower pace allows staff to ensure the process works well, she said.

The testing site is supported by the county health department, but is run independently of the county, said Bull. The location is listed as a testing site on the county’s COVID-19 information page, and Bull said they’ve been in communication with county personnel. Bull said the site is meant to help bolster testing options in Thurston County.

“Our organization has worked closely with the communities across Washington State since this pandemic began, providing laboratory analysis for multiple community testing programs,” said Bull in a press release sent to news agencies earlier this week.

Northwest Laboratory set up a similar site recently in Bellingham, and if the operation there is any indicator, patients should be able to move through the process without spending much time waiting, said Bull.

The lab is providing test results within 24 to 48 hours, said Bull.

To set up an appointment, visit https://www.testdirectly.com/patient/home. For further assistance setting up an appointment, call 360-543-6904 between the hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The site is located in the Capital Mall parking lot, near JC Penney and Olive Garden. It’s open 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Both insured and uninsured patients can be tested at the site, said Bull. Funding from the federal CARES Act covers the testing costs for uninsured patients.

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