Mayor Jenny Durkan announced this week that one million COVID-19 tests have been carried out at city locations since operations began in 2020.
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Test sites include fixed locations with UW Medicine in Aurora, SoDo, Rainier Beach, and West Seattle, as well as seven healing kiosks across the city. The free trial services have been used by more than one in three Seattle residents.
“We worked quickly to launch a nationwide leading free testing program to help contain the spread of the virus and keep our community healthy and safe, and Seattle continues to have the lowest cases, hospitalizations and deaths of any major American city,” Durkan said in a written communication.
“Our partners at UW Medicine have seamlessly taken over the operation of these sites and are ensuring that this life-saving resource continues to be available to our residents,” she continued. “With the advent of more dangerous varieties, please wear a mask, wash your hands, and get tested if you have symptoms or are exposed. If you or someone you know has not yet been vaccinated, please get vaccinated. It’s safe, it’s free, and it’s the safest way to keep the Delta variant from spreading further in our communities. “
Today we marked 1 million free COVID tests at City & @UWMedicine locations! Seattle has had the lowest cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in major American cities, in large part because we led the nation in introducing a free trial program. If you experience symptoms, get tested. https://t.co/m1qHnx3l6D
– Mayor Jenny Durkan (@MayorJenny) September 14, 2021
This announcement comes as state health officials point to increasing demand for COVID testing across Washington, including increased demand in Seattle over the past 60 days. Currently, an average of 2,944 tests are carried out daily at the four fixed locations, compared to 1,177 in mid-July.
The Aurora site ran the most tests with 392,716, closely followed by SoDo with 320,790.
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The Seattle Fire Department began testing first responders on March 14, 2020. A month later, they began testing residents and workers in long-term care facilities. The department then launched its public COVID testing infrastructure on June 5, 2020 and has since set up four permanent locations and seven test kiosks across the city. Since August 1st, UW Medicine has taken over the operation of the city’s permanent test sites.
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