WENATCHEE — Local residents continued coming in droves on Wednesday to the free COVID testing at Wenatchee High School that is being offered over four days this week. The first day so many people showed up for the testing, many had to be turned away at the end of the day.
People were coming to the testing for a variety of reasons, some personal and some hoping to help the community and get students back in school.
“I personally wanted to know if I was positive. I have some friends coming to town so I wanted to know,” said Michael Newton of Wenatchee.
The Chelan-Douglas Health District is conducting the testing to gather more data in hopes of reopening schools and businesses in the area. The testing is Tuesday-Friday this week from 1-to-7 p.m. Results will be available in 24-48 hours.
Bob Corkrum of East Wenatchee said he had a good friend get tested so he wanted to get tested, too. Plus, he’s planning to go to Mexico in two weeks.
Gabe Worman of Oregon said his boss was having him get tested. “I work in the orchard so this works out well,” Worman said.
Kimberly Urdahl of East Wenatchee said she was being tested to provide community information and collect scientific data.
“We have a kindergartener and would love for him to be in school,” said parent Amy Jennings.
Jake Lewing said he wanted to take advantage of the free testing.
“I just came here to do my part to get a more accurate count to open things up, school and things,” Lewing said.
Anne Koch of Wenatchee said she wanted to make sure to do the right thing for the community and her family. She wants to see the kids back in school.
“I support public health. We need to have more negative numbers so our kids can get in school,” said Debra Holland of Wenatchee.
Jaye Delabarre of Wenatchee figured she would only get tested if she thought she had COVID, but when the free testing was offered, she thought it would be good to be tested in hopes of getting schools reopened.
Just as many people showed up for the community-wide COVID testing at Wenatchee High School as the first day but on Wednesday everything went much better.
On Tuesday, cars were already lined up in the Wenatchee High School parking lot when the testing began, so not much could be done about guiding the traffic, which ended up slowing everything down.
Medical Team Incident Commander Brian McMahan said the cars came so early for Tuesday’s testing they were unable to manage the traffic. On Wednesday, he said they came back with a plan to keep the traffic manageable by forming two lines in the parking lot.
While cars were getting bottlenecked at the testing site for 15-20 minutes on Tuesday, the average wait time on Wednesday was seven minutes. In the last hour Tuesday night, 53 people were told they would not make it.
McMahan said some chose to come back the next day while others chose to be tested in East Wenatchee that night.
“Only one person showed up after 6:45 (p.m.) and we told him line won’t allow it (to get tested). Only one person was turned away at the end. We didn’t have data on how long they waited until later in the day,” McMahan said on Wednesday. “Generally, what we’ve encountered is we have a way to move the flow faster today.”
The free COVID testing continues from 1 to 7 p.m. on Thursday and Friday at Wenatchee High School.