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Demand for Covid tests spikes during holidays, omicron fears

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Demand for tests in Spokane County has skyrocketed this week amidst holiday travel and fears of the new omicron variant.

Those needing a covid test may encounter a long wait at one of Spokane’s two mass testing sites.

Daniel Pulse, chief growth officer for Discovery Health MD, the company operating Spokane’s sites, says over the past month, the average number of tests between the two sites was between two and three hundred a day. Monday, 733 tests were given.

He says despite a potential wait, people should still get tested to avoid sickening a family member or friend, or spreading a new more contagious variant.

“As much as it is frustrating for there to be long lines, which we do understand and are trying to cut down on that wait time, we do appreciate that people are coming through and getting tested anyway,” Pulse said. “It’s hugely valuable to the community.”

PCR testing, which takes one to three days for results, is available until Friday. Friday, Spokane’s mass testing sites will be conducting rapid tests which provide results in about an hour.

Other options for testing in the community are less accurate at-home tests. The free Say Yes Covd Test program, which provided about 500,000 free tests to Eastern Washington residents, has been exhausted, but at home tests are still available for purchase at pharmacies. A list of at home test providers is also available on Spokane Regional Health District’s website.

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