NEWS RELEASE FROM THE OFFICE OF THE MAYOR
Contact: Kamaria Hightower, Kamaria.firstname.lastname@example.org
Building on Successful Free Citywide Test Sites, Mayor Durkan Announces Partnership to Pilot No-Cost COVID-19 Testing Kiosks
In the coming weeks, the City of Seattle could administer 9,000+ tests daily
Seattle (November 20, 2020) – As COVID-19 cases surge across the region and state, Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan signed a new Executive Order and announced a new pilot and partnership with Curative to create additional testing capacity. Curative, which currently conducts testing in cities like Los Angeles and states including Delaware, will initially provide two walk-up testing kiosks in North Seattle and Central Seattle with more in mid-December.
Currently, the City of Seattle is conducting from 5,500 tests – 6,000 tests per day at the four Citywide testing sites. These two kiosks sites will add capacity to conduct at least 1,000 tests per day. The City is evaluating five additional kiosk locations for the coming weeks that could add additional capacity for at least 2,500 tests. By mid-December, at least 9,000 tests per day could be administered through the City-sponsored sites.
“Across the region, state, and nation, we are facing the third wave of the pandemic. Seattle has led the way through innovative testing, and our Seattle Fire Department is leading our free citywide testing efforts and reaching record levels of testing over the past week. With a surging virus, we must surge our testing capacity. Through a new partnership with Curative, we will be piloting new kiosks to provide additional testing capacity in neighborhoods across Seattle. With cases surging across the country we have to employ every measure to slow the spread of the virus and keep communities safe,” said Mayor Durkan.
Similar to the free citywide test sites, individuals must register online. Beginning the first week of December, potential clients will be able to pre-register for appointments at www.curative.com or through the city’s testing website. Test results are typically returned within 48 hours via text or email. Additional location and registration information will be available in the coming days at Seattle’s testing website here.
Tests are self-administered using a single-use, oral sample, instead of the nasal swab common at the Aurora, Rainier Beach, SoDo, and West Seattle citywide testing sites. Clients will not be charged and will not receive a bill, regardless of insurance status. For uninsured clients, Curative will seek reimbursement from the federal, Families First Coronavirus Response Act Relief Fund for the cost of the test. We anticipate that Kiosks will initially be operating Monday thru Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Curative may flex the days and hours of operations according to demand.
“Curative is proud to be partnering with the City of Seattle as a crucial COVID-19 testing resource for residents during this pivotal moment in the pandemic,” said Fred Turner, CEO and co-founder of Curative. “Curative’s goal is to make testing more accessible to all, including those most vulnerable, with our easy walk-up kiosks available across Seattle. Our unique, observed and directed self-collected oral fluid swab COVID-19 test offers a painless, simple option with quick 24-48-hour results and no cost to patients.”
“The number of tests conducted per day at our City’s four community test sites has doubled from the summer months with the holiday rush and spread of COVID-19 in our region. We look forward to seeing the mobile kiosks implemented, which will help supply the highest density areas of the City with testing and serve as a complement to our current fire-department operated sites,” said Seattle Fire Chief Harold Scoggins. “I want to emphasize that testing should be prioritized for people experiencing symptoms or for those with close exposure to a positive person for 15-minutes or longer without a face covering. At this time, we simply do not have enough capacity to test people who are only receiving a test to gather with their family for Thanksgiving.”
Of the top 30 American cities, the City of Seattle has the lowest rate of COVID-19 cases and hospitalization rates. However, in recent weeks, cases and hospitalizations have increased significantly in the region with Seattle’s cases accounting for 20 percent of the total case count over the last 14 days. As cases have surged, increased access to testing is crucial to tracking the virus and keeping communities safe. Read more about Seattle’s numbers here.
To address the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases, Governor Inslee recently announced new restrictions through December 14, to slow the spread of the virus. In recent days, the City of Seattle released updated information on COVID-19-related programs including rental and food assistance, utility discount programs and deferred payments, and Small Business Stabilization grants, and no cost testing available to residents.