The large parking lot surrounding Capitol Hill’s FAME Seattle church is busy Friday with an effort to bring crucial COVID-19 testing directly to the city’s most at risk communities.
“We feel it is our responsibility to reach out to those communities,” Sherry Williams, director for community health investment at Swedish, tells CHS.
Williams says Friday’s clinic is a partnership between Swedish, Central Seattle Senior Center, and the church after the community recently lost four community members to the virus.
“We try not to fed into ‘peace of mind’ testing,” Williams said. Friday’s clinic is focused on individuals with identified symptoms and those in the households of the people who have become sick and those who were lost.
Around 60 to 70 people were scheduled to be part of the drive-thru only testing, contacted as after Swedish reached out to the Central District senior center to identify “underserved populations” in need of screening.
Swedish’s mobile “Community Response Clinic” on 14th Ave Friday is part of wider efforts to increase testing that has included medical workers, tents, and a repurposing of the hospital’s mobile mammogram trailer being deployed around the city to serve communities including people in transitional housing and the staff working at those facilities.
The hospital system has also set up some community clinics to provide patients with drive-thru testing options and “to evaluate and test patients who are symptomatic for COVID-19 that are referred to Swedish.”
In March, KING 5 reported on the Swedish mobile clinic’s deployment to test residents and staff at a Plymouth Housing site downtown.
Friday’s clinic location is less than a mile from the Swedish First Hill and Cherry Hill campuses.
Williams said next week, the clinic will move north to a session on Monday in Lake Forest Park.
Anybody that shows up unscheduled to Friday’s clinic will be referred to the nearest “walk-up” testing location at Harborview, Williams said.
Friday’s session is slated to run from 10 AM to 4 PM and will serve around 70 people seeking tests. Those scheduled are mostly in their 60s and 70s, Williams said, including one over 100.
King County reported 120 new positive cases and five new deaths through Wednesday night. Rates have continued to drop to a seven-day average of around 110 new positive reports and 9 new deaths a day. Officials this week expressed concern about a jump in COVID-19 cases in the city’s population of homeless and under sheltered people. More than 5,500 people have been reported sick from the virus in the county since the outbreak’s start. There have been 384 reported deaths.
Friday, Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to announce further details of the first stages of lifting COVID-19 restrictions including construction work. A key component of the plan is increased testing and improved resources for figuring out who infected patients have come in contact with. Inslee says a 1,500-person team including members of the Washington National Guard is being put together to tackle contact tracing in the state. Meanwhile, UW and Microsoft have developed a new mobile app that could give health officials a tool enabling contact-tracing capabilities while protecting privacy.
Yesterday, @Swedish’s mobile COVID-19 community response clinic returned to evaluate and test more of our staff and residents. Special thanks to U-Park for providing the space!
We're so thankful for everything our partners do to keep our community safe. pic.twitter.com/9IiSjoIIYX
— Plymouth Housing (@PlymouthHousing) April 3, 2020
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