Saturday, February 27, 2021
Feb. 27, 2021

Linkedin Pinterest

Clark County COVID-19 testing options expand

Several health care providers can get results in 15 to 20 minutes

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:

Last week, Beth Hovee called her primary care provider, concerned that she might have a sinus infection.

Hovee, 66, had a dull headache, an ear infection and a sore throat but no fever. Her husband, Eric Hovee, 68, had a worsening cough.

A provider with the Vancouver Clinic instructed the Uptown Village couple to visit the clinic’s Columbia Tech Center location later that day to be tested for COVID-19. Within 15 minutes of being tested, they received their results: negative.

“I was shocked. I didn’t believe it,” Hovee said of her rapid test. “All you hear on the news is how backed up testing is.”

Doctors ordered a chest X-ray for Eric Hovee, and found he had a recurrence of pneumonia that first manifested in the winter. Beth Hovee was diagnosed with a sinus infection, as she originally suspected, and the couple were prescribed antibiotics.

The where, how and what of COVID-19 testing

The Columbian has made an evolving list of where you can get tested, how you qualify for testing, and what kind of testing you’ll receive.

Rapid testing options (results in 15 to 20 minutes)

 Legacy-GoHealth Urgent Care, 8013 N.E. Sixth Ave., Vancouver, offers drive-in and on-site testing for Legacy patients who have been screened through a virtual visit with a Legacy-GoHealth provider, and who have received a testing appointment. Screenings are for people showing COVID-19 symptoms. Virtual visits can be scheduled at www.gohealthuc.com/northwest/virtualvisit.

 The Vancouver Clinic offers rapid testing to its patients at its Columbia Tech Center location, 501 S.E. 172nd Ave., and its Ridgefield location, 5515 Pioneer St. Testing is issued at the discretion of a medical provider. Patients must have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, or have a known exposure. Patients need to call 360-882-2778 or schedule a video visit: tvc.org/video-visits.

Laboratory testing options (results take around 24 hours)

Kaiser Permanente Cascade Park Medical Office, 12607 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd., offers testing for patients who have COVID-19 symptoms and meet other criteria such as frontline health care workers, first responders, in long-term care facilities or hospitals, older than 65, have chronic medical conditions, worsening respiratory symptoms, are pregnant or are caregivers for immunosuppressed people. Tests are provided at a physician’s discretion.

Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center, 2211 N.E. 139th St., offers testing for hospitalized and emergency department patients whose providers determine it is appropriate to test based on symptoms.

 PeaceHealth is testing newly admitted patients to its Southwest Medical Center. For its clinics, PeaceHealth is testing patients exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, who also are at high risk of complications from other diseases such as cardiac disease and diabetes, as well as caregivers or people in the community with a known exposure that have been directed by the county for testing. Those people are tested at PeaceHealth Union Station Clinic, 315 N.E. 192nd Ave., Building 310, Camas, or PeaceHealth Southwest Urgent Care, 3400 Main St., Vancouver.

 Providence clinics in Clark County are testing patients who have been referred by a Providence physician. Patients will be directed to a clinic by a provider if they qualify. Learn more here: www.providence.org/en.

 Vancouver Clinic locations other than the Columbia Tech Center and Ridgefield locations offer testing, but not rapid testing.

They’re both feeling well now, and their quick, uneventful trip to the doctor offers an example of what needs to happen for the United States, and Clark County, to phase out physical distancing measures that have been implemented since the pandemic began. In order to do that, testing will need to be more widespread, with quicker turnaround times.

“They need to test everybody, so we can sort the people who have it and those who don’t,” Hovee said.

For more than a month, testing issues have trickled down from the federal to state to local level, impacting people who want to be tested. First, there were delays in getting test kits to labs, so they could process specimens. Then there was confusion over who could be tested. And there were also issues in procuring swabs and viral transport media.

Point-of-care testing

Clark County Public Health Officer Dr. Alan Melnick said some challenges around testing still exist, and the county still does not have any location that offers on-demand testing to the general public. But point-of-care testing, which occurs at the time and place of patient care, is expanding in Clark County.

“It’s none of this four-day turnaround anymore,” Melnick said. “This will really help if we want to move away from physical distancing.”

Vancouver Clinic, PeaceHealth and Legacy Health all now have some sort of rapid testing option, which returns results in about 15 to 20 minutes. Vancouver Clinic spokeswoman Chastell Ely said Vancouver Clinic can now process close to 2,000 tests per week.

A Legacy Health press release from April 9 said the hospital system can run more than 650 tests per day.

PeaceHealth is offering point-of-care testing to all patients admitted into its emergency department and family birth center, but the rest of its testing is sent to a lab, and has about a 24-hour turnaround, according to spokeswoman Debra Carnes.

Eric Frank, with the Clark Joint Information Center, said the county has received about 2,000 test kits from the state Department of Health. Frank said Public Health and providers are working together to conduct testing in Clark County’s long-term care facilities with confirmed cases, so those residents don’t have to leave their homes.

There are 43 confirmed cases in long-term care facilities in Clark County, and health officials, mayors and the Clark County Council have expressed a need for expanded testing in the facilities.

“As testing becomes more available, we are prioritizing population,” Melnick said.

More on COVID-19 testing

A nurse holds a vial and a swab at a drive-up coronavirus testing station in Seattle earlier this month. More options for testing are becoming available in Clark County. (Ted S. Clark County COVID-19 testing options expand
Last week, Beth Hovee called her primary care provider, concerned that she might have a sinus infection.
Sen. Murray joins effort to ramp up virus testing
Sen. Patty Murray joined a group of senior Senate Democrats in introducing a road map Wednesday that would increase testing capacity for COVID-19 nationwide, a…
Loading...