Spokane woman struggles to find COVID-19 test as demand soars

SPOKANE, Wash.– Some people are looking for a COVID-19 test because they’re sick. Others need proof of a negative test for a concert or other event.

Both scenarios are putting a strain on our healthcare system and making tests hard to come by.

Julia is one of the many people who couldn’t find one. She said she started feeling sick on Aug. 22 and it only got worse from there. She said she was coughing to the point she lost her voice.

“Every day that I woke up, I had a new symptom and I felt worse,” she said.

She said she wasn’t the only person in her house to get sick.

“I actually got it the worst. Both people in my house had to take 10 days off to work.”

On her third day of being sick, she tried to make an appointment for a COVID-19 test at Walgreens but it was booked for all of August. She said their website wouldn’t even flip to September.

“I tried for several days and I was like, if I need to know so badly or if I feel so badly then I’ll just go to urgent care and I won’t mess around.”

Julia said she doesn’t know if she got COVID but she decided to quarantine anyway. She said either way, she didn’t want to get other people sick.

Spokane Regional Health said it expects to see the demand for testing continue to rise for both people who are sick and people who need proof of a negative test for an event of traveling.

The Washington Department of Health is looking to expand capacity at pharmacies. In Spokane, health leaders have requested a mass testing site. However, staffing is an issue and the National Guard isn’t available to help.

If you need a test, here are some of the places still giving them out.

  • Rite Aid by appointment only at drive-through locations.
  • Walgreens* and CVS* by appointment only.
  • Some Walmarts* have them, but others don’t. You’ll have to check with the one you want.

* Indicates appointment availability will vary

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