Washington State is set to launch a new community testing initiative that aims to promote health equity for underserved populations. The effort, which is a collaboration between the Washington State Department of Health, Local Health Jurisdictions (LHJs), and Tribal Nations, will offer free COVID-19 and flu tests at kiosks that are accessible 24/7.
Each kiosk will hold approximately 700 tests, with half of them provided by the DOH. Various COVID-19 test options, including rapid antigen tests, multiplex rapid antigen tests, and self-swab PCR tests, will be available. Kiosks may also include other essential healthcare supplies such as naloxone, pregnancy tests, tests for sexually transmitted infections, fentanyl test strips, and over-the-counter medications. The exact contents of each kiosk will be determined by LHJs and Tribal Nations.
The initiative aims to make testing more accessible for underserved populations who may face barriers to care due to lack of transportation or insurance coverage. Kiosks will be distributed across a variety of locations including food banks, transit stations, churches, schools and libraries. As of February 5th , 17 kiosks have already been ordered by LHJs and Tribal Nations with more to come. This effort is expected to make a meaningful difference in community health and break down barriers to care for underserved populations.