The wait times at the Providence drive-thru testing site may improve next week after the testing site begins diverting pre-procedure testing to other clinics.
The Hawks Prairie testing site currently tests symptomatic patients and patients preparing for medical procedures. However, over the past two weeks, the site has seen wait times of 3 to 4 hours with over 200 cars in line, according to a news release, prompting staff to turn cars away early.
"We want community members to utilize the testing site if they are feeling symptomatic or have a COVID-19 exposure," said Dr. Eve Cunningham, chief medical officer for Providence Medical Group Southwest Washington, in the release.
With the change, pre-procedure tests will be scheduled at Southwest Providence Medical Group Immediate Care Clinics, freeing up space at the drive-thru. The patients preparing for surgery will be scheduled at clinics in west Olympia, Lacey or Hawks Prairie or in Lewis County at Centralia General Surgery, the release reads.
"This will enable two testing lanes and more capacity for symptomatic patients at the drive through testing site. We hope to make this transition by Nov. 23," the news release says.
The change comes as the state contends with a significant surge in coronavirus cases ahead of the holiday season, and new restrictions on dining and retail capacity.
Pre-surgery patients with questions should contact their surgeon's office first before calling Providence's preoperative line at 360-486-6303, according to the release.
The drive-thru, located on Marvin Road Northeast in Lacey, is a collaboration between Providence and Thurston County Public Health Services. It operates weekdays between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., however staff may turn people away early if the line exceeds capacity for a given day.
Other testing sites are available throughout the county, including no-cost community-based testing sites with walk-up options in Tenino, Rochester and Olympia.