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New Guidance: Mayor Durkan Urges Symptomatic Demonstrators to Be Tested at New Citywide Testing Sites in North and South Seattle

(June 12, 2020) – Results are in from UW Medicine and out of 3,000 tests fewer than 1% were positive. To our knowledge and based on volunteered information, there is no evidence so far of people testing positive for COVID-19 from attending protests in Seattle. 

Let’s make room for people who need testing – who have symptoms! 

If you attended large gatherings, you MAY have been exposed. You are strongly urged to monitor yourself for symptoms and get tested for COVID-19  if you experience any of the following: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. Taking proactive steps to protect your health, such as wearing a mask, avoiding physical contact, and regularly washing your hands, can cut down on your risks of contracting the virus, even in large gatherings.     

Original release below.

Seattle (June 6, 2020) –  Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced that the new Citywide testing program will expand testing criteria to include individuals who participated in demonstrations throughout the past week. Currently, testing is recommended for individuals experiencing a symptom(s) of COVID-19 and/or those who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 within the past 14 days. The City of Seattle is revising its MOU with Public Health – Seattle & King County (PHSKC) to allow an expansion of criteria for testing at City sites to allow individuals who are asymptomatic to be tested if they have attended a large gathering. The revised criteria will allow individuals who participated in demonstrations over the last week to get tested. While demonstrators are urged to register to get tested, COVID-19 testing is a snapshot in time. Individuals who receive a negative result need to be retested if symptoms develop or individuals are exposed to an individual with COVID-19.   

“Over the last week, residents across Seattle have been gathering to build community and share their anger and frustration about the killing of George Floyd and injustices against black Americans, here in Seattle and across the country. While I believe everyone should exercise their right and speak out, we must also remember we’re in the middle of a pandemic. I have been hearing from community members who attended demonstrations over the past week about their concerns of COVID-19 exposure. While Public Health guidelines reserve testing for those who have symptoms, or who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 illness, I recognize that many have put themselves at risk of exposure to make their voices heard, and this expanded criteria will ensure they can get tested at City test sites,” said Mayor Durkan.  

Without a vaccine or treatment, COVID-19 has become a disease with deadly repercussions. People of color especially Black, Latinx communities – many of which have been on the frontlines of demonstrations – have already been disproportionately impacted by the virus. Whether from living in congregate households, a lack of and/or mistrust of the health care system, or employment as an “essential” worker, the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the inequities in our country for communities of color.  

If individuals test positive for COVID-19, they will be contacted by PHSKC on next steps. PHSKC is ready to conduct voluntary contact tracing and help meet quarantine and isolation needs. 

The new Citywide testing sites are located in north and south Seattle and operate  Monday to Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and accommodate drive thru clients  who  book ahead through the website.  These sites are designed and intended for drive-up testing and are not ADA compliant for pedestrians.  

For individuals who are experiencing symptoms or have a confirmed COVID-19 exposure, PHSKC offers many options for free COVID-19 testing at walk-up locations with ADA accommodations, please visit Public Health’s  website  or call 206-477-3977 for more information. Most people can access testing through their regular health care provider.