The City of Seattle and the University of Washington Medicine are offering free citywide COVID-19 testing following King County’s application to advance to a modified phase one in Gov. Jay Inslee’s updated “Safe Start Washington” reopening plan. The free tests are being offered at two locations in north and south Seattle. 

The joint effort partnership between the city and UW Medicine is expected to increase capacity by more than 1,600 tests per day. 

County Executive Dow Constantine said in a city press release that more testing capacity is needed to rebuild the economy safely, and people with even mild symptoms or who believe they have been exposed to COVID-19 should get tested.

“This is an essential step in effective containment of the virus without strict stay-at-home requirements,” Constantine said in a press release. “That’s why we are working with healthcare providers across King County to create more testing options for anyone who may not have easy access, particularly in communities that have higher rates of infection.”

Earlier this week, Mayor Durkan signed an executive order and transmitted legislation to City Council to lease two former emissions testing sites for testing purposes.

The facilities are located in north and south Seattle and will operate from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday and accommodate drive-through clients who book ahead through the website at http://www.seattle.gov/mayor/covid-19/covid-19-testing.  

The south Seattle location is at 3820 Sixth Ave. South, and the north Seattle location is at 12040 Aurora Ave. North.

These sites are designed and intended for drive-up testing and are not ADA compliant for pedestrians.

People who need walk-up testing with ADA accommodations should visit Public Health – Seattle King County’s website, https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19.aspx, or call 206-477-3977 for more information on where to find free COVID-19 testing. 

Most people can access testing through their regular health care provider. 

Clients at the testing facilities will not be charged for testing and will not receive a bill, regardless of health insurance status.

To help accommodate a safe and seamless testing process, the city highly-urges potential clients to pre-register for appointments at www.seattle.gov/covid-19-testing. 

The Seattle Fire Department estimates pre-registration will allow the testing procedure to take fewer than 10 minutes per test. 

Testing results can be accessed by individuals online, and those who test positive will be contacted, given information on next steps and a referral to Public Health – Seattle & King County. Public Health, in partnership with the State Department of Health, operates a contact tracing program to help prevent positive cases from spreading the virus to their families and the surrounding community.   

As cities across the country transition to reopening, widespread testing is commonly considered one of the most important measures to provide the confidence residents and businesses need to feel safe, according to the press release.

To ensure Seattle can safely open under Gov. Inslee’s phased plan, we must increase our testing capacity,” District 5 Councilmember Debora Juarez said in the city’s press release. “Despite having insurance and primary care doctors, I’ve heard from many constituents who still can’t access or face increased barriers to COVID-19 tests.”