SEATTLE — From this day forward, the Rainier Beach and West Seattle sites will deliver coronavirus vaccines only.
The city of Seattle stated COVID-19 tests will no longer be available there.
Quinton Richardson was in line, albeit reluctantly, to receive his first coronavirus vaccine not far from his Columbia City home. He said he is last to get a vaccine.
“Yes, I kind of held out,” said Richardson, “due to all the pressure of everybody getting on me. So I thought ‘Hey, might as well get it.’”
He joined hundreds of others at this Rainier Beach site in the warmth of this sunny April day.
“I’m just excited that I get a chance to get the vaccine,” said a Bellevue woman.
“Been waiting a year for this,” said a Seattle woman.
“Are you ready?” she was asked. “One, two, three.”
Now the city of Seattle is suspending all COVID-19 testing here and in West Seattle.
This, after deciding just three weeks ago to continue testing here to figure out why cases are on the rise.
“Yeah, there are several reasons why we wanted to wait,” said Sarah Smith of the Seattle Fire Department. “We wanted to look into our data to see who is coming through here, what the positivity rate was, and what their reasonings were.”
Smith said the number of people seeking tests is steadily dropping, and most just want to travel. Moreover, the greatest need, she said, is getting BIPOC communities vaccinated.
“This community used to have the hugest surge in positivity,” she said. “And we’re also seeing now that more elders in this area have been vaccinated through this site than we ever imagined was going to happen.”
“Are you ready?” Richardson was asked, a firefighter poised to give him the vaccine.
“Nope!” he declared.
“OK, we’re all done,” came the reply.
The vaccinated group includes plenty of younger people, too.
“A big sigh of relief,” Richardson said as he left. “I’ll feel better now about traveling.”
The city stated there are still several places to get tested, including drive-thrus in SODO and in North Seattle. King County also has testing sites still open.
Officials said they will keep the symptomatic and the healthy people apart. And they can move faster in getting more people vaccinated.