The Whatcom County Health Department has partnered with Northwest Laboratory to open a new drive-through testing site in Bellingham starting Monday, Feb. 15. The new community testing site will be operated by Northwest Laboratories and will be integrated into the same operational and scheduling processes as other WCHD/WUC testing sites, such as the Northwest Washington Fairgrounds site and mobile testing clinics.
“Our organization has worked closely with the health department since this pandemic began, providing laboratory analysis for the WUC/WCHD community testing program,” said Jennifer Bull, chief operating officer at Northwest Pathology, the parent company of Northwest Laboratory. “We’re more than happy to expand testing access for the community by helping run this new testing site.”
The new site will be located at the Bellingham International Airport, in parking lot A, a space provided by the Port of Bellingham at no cost.
“COVID-19 testing is an essential component of keeping our community members safe and protecting the long-term health of our economy” said Port Executive Director Rob Fix. “The Port is pleased to offer a convenient location for testing free-of-charge as an important contribution towards public health in Whatcom County.”
The new site will be located at the Bellingham International Airport, in parking lot A. The red lines show the planned route of traffic through the testing area outlined in the sketch.
The Bellingham community testing site will run 7 days a week from 12-3 p.m. and from 4-7 p.m. While testing will begin at the site on Feb. 15, individuals may begin scheduling testing appointments this week beginning Feb. 10 at 7:15 p.m.
The testing site at the Lynden Fairgrounds will continue to operate with a slightly modified schedule starting on Feb. 17. Wednesdays will be the only day affected by the schedule change, operating from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1-4 p.m. The Lynden site will also be closed on Monday, Feb. 15 in observance of President’s Day, but the new Bellingham site will be open on Feb. 15.
“Since moving our community testing site to Lynden, we’ve sought a community partner to replicate our successful model and help us bring testing services to more people in our county,” said Erika Lautenbach, director of the Whatcom County Health Department. “Northwest Laboratories answered the call, as they have so many times for our community during this pandemic. This will greatly expand our testing reach and capacity, especially for Bellingham and Ferndale residents.”
To schedule an appointment for COVID-19 testing at either the Bellingham or Lynden community testing sites, go to TestDirectly.com/whatcom. Whatcom County Health Department volunteers also provide assistance over the phone for people who speak languages other than English or who lack internet access. For assistance scheduling a COVID-19 test call (360) 778-6075 between 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The WUC/WCHD community testing sites do not require a medical provider’s referral before testing. The NWL testing site operated at 3548 Guide Meridian does require a provider’s referral and is primarily used for pre-operative testing or referrals from other healthcare providers.