Top Kitsap health official wants more testing

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Kitsap County is still behind its neighbors in terms of overall testing and access to testing, local health officials say, and the Kitsap Public Health District is hoping to close that gap.

At this month’s Kitsap Board of Health meeting, officials shared reports of residents who were turned away for COVID-19 testing by their providers. Now KPHD is working with the county’s Emergency Operations Center to start a community testing program that will provide testing to those who need to have one.

The first testing site is expected to launch in mid-October, said Dr. Gib Morrow, the county’s health officer. A provider visit will not be required; insurance companies will be billed for those with coverage, and a federal grant program covers the cost for those without.

Morrow asks those identified as needing to be tested to do so as soon as possible to identify positive cases and get people into isolation to control the spread of the coronavirus.

“I am personally grateful for your support of our mission to protect the health of community members under these especially daunting circumstances,” Morrow said.

The following groups of people should have a test immediately:

• Anyone showing COVID-19 symptoms.

• Any close contact of a confirmed case — ideally, the test will be done five to eight days after contact with a person with a confirmed case.

• Any members of a racial or ethnic group that is disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 who want a test.

• Any person who recently attended a “high-risk” event, defined as having more than 10 people in a high-transmission zone without masking or social distancing.

•Anyone who has recently traveled to areas with a high prevalence of COVID-19.

• Healthcare workers, critical infrastructure workers and first responders who desire testing.

• Any person with any association to a COVID-19 outbreak.

• Anyone who lives, works or receives care in a long-term care setting.

• Any person who was advised to pursue testing through the health district.

• Anyone with questions about whether or not they meet the criteria can reach the communicable disease staff at 360-728 2235.

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