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WSU providing free COVID‑19 testing for students

Health care workers prepare for COVID-19 testing on the WSU Pullman campus.
Health care workers prepare for the Sept. 8 opening of the Cougar Health Services testing site for COVID-19. © 2020 WSU Photo Services

With two new testing sites that significantly expand capacity, Washington State University is offering COVID‑19 testing at no charge to students regardless of whether they’re exhibiting symptoms.

The two new sites opened Tuesday, Sept. 8, with both offering voluntary free tests for WSU Pullman students until further notice.

“The University continues to ramp up the resources available to care for the health of our students,” said WSU President Kirk Schulz. “Increasing our testing capacity, including the completion of the testing site at Cougar Health Services and support from the National Guard is an important part of that effort.”

Dr. Bonnie de Vries, the medical director at Cougar Health Services, agrees.

“It is critical for our students and our community that we expand COVID‑19 testing as much as possible,” de Vries said. “We are encouraging all students on the WSU Pullman campus to get tested.”

Cougar Health Services

The first site to open Tuesday is the dedicated testing center developed by Cougar Health Services, which is located alongside the student health clinic on the Pullman campus. It will be open for both walk‑up and pre‑scheduled testing appointments during normal business hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Students who are sick, however, should contact their healthcare provider in advance.

Students who would like to speak with a healthcare provider about any potential symptoms may also schedule a telehealth appointment by calling 509‑335‑3575.

The center has been conducting limited testing services the past few days to make sure workflows and other procedures are firmly in place before going fully operational.

Washington National Guard

Also on Tuesday, the National Guard opened its first testing site in Pullman. The mobile testing site operates 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and will be moved to different locations around Pullman throughout the fall as needed.

The site also is providing testing free of charge regardless of insurance status.

The mobile testing site’s latest location will be publicized on the University’s COVID-19 website.

Range Health

A health care worker reaches through a car window to conduct a COVID-19 test.
The William A. Crosetto Mobile Health Care Unit conducted COVID-19 testing on the campus of Washington State University, Wednesday, Sept. 2. © 2020 WSU Photo Services

Additionally, a mobile health unit from the WSU Health Sciences Spokane campus spent much of the week leading up to the Labor Day holiday weekend in Pullman providing diagnostic testing for students while the Cougar Health site underwent final preparations. A total of 573 students were tested from Wednesday through Friday.

Operated by Range Health, a nonprofit academic healthcare network led by executives from WSU’s colleges of Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, the William A. Crosetto Mobile Health Care Unit was stationed at the President’s residence near Greek row.

Most of the samples are being processed and analyzed at WSU’s One Health Diagnostic Laboratory on the Pullman campus, which has been operational since early July as part of a statewide campaign to help reopen the region’s economy by boosting overall testing capacity across eastern Washington.

The University’s aggressive moves to significantly expand testing in Pullman followed advisories from Whitman County Public Health of increasing numbers of COVID‑19 cases within the student population. Although WSU in July transitioned away from face‑to‑face instruction to a distance delivery model for the Fall 2020 semester, many students still returned to Pullman, particularly those who had entered into lease contracts for private, off‑campus housing.

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