Skagit County is changing hours at its drive-thru COVID-19 testing site, improving access for people who work during regular business hours.

Starting Sept. 21, the testing site will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, Public Health Director Jennifer Johnson said at a meeting Thursday of the county Board of Health.

“Having low-barrier testing available for everyone is a priority,” Johnson said.

Hours on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are also changing slightly, she said. The site will open a half-hour earlier at 8:30 a.m., and will close at 4 p.m.

Testing has been available 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday since the site opened in April.

Johnson said a recent change to the site — restricting testing only to people who affirm they live or work in the county — gave staff the flexibility to retool the services offered.

Public Health is also staging a remote test site for agricultural workers at Maiben Park in Burlington, according to the county website.

From 5 to 9 p.m. each Wednesday from Sept. 9 through Sept. 30, staff are offering free tests. Like at the county’s other testing site, no appointment, I.D., insurance, work authorization or social security number are required.

Earlier at the meeting, Johnson said her review of August’s COVID-19 case numbers showed an increase in people declining to speak with county contract tracers.

Staff were unable to determine a source of infection in 23% of August cases, which she called a concerning trend.

Contract tracing is the process by which Public Health staff identify how someone was infected, and who else they could have spread the virus to.

Overall, however, she said the county saw a “slow and steady decrease” of new cases since late July and early August.

However, she is concerned that Labor Day gatherings will lead to another spike. The county saw spikes in new cases about 10 days after Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, many of which were attributed to large gatherings.

“I’m hoping we as a community can learn from this,” she said at the meeting. “We all play a part in what our cases are going to look like going forward.”

She reminded residents to wear a mask, keep six feet of distance between themselves and others, and restrict gatherings to no more than five people outside of one’s household in a seven-day period.

— Reporter Brandon Stone: bstone@skagitpublishing.com, 360-416-2112, Twitter: @Brandon_SVH

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