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Free coronavirus testing site in Whitefish

Posted at 10:29 AM, Jun 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-20 12:29:34-04

WHITEFISH — A free coronavirus testing clinic is available for asymptomatic people in Whitefish.

Whitefish city manager Dana Smith said the drive-up clinic acts a snapshot of coronavirus activity in the area.

"We are faced, with an active population of visitors from all over the country and knowing that there is high risk involved with transmitting and spreading of COVID-19, we felt that with the governor's directive allowing for testing in communities that have high tourism that Whitefish was a prime place," said Smith.

She explained that this specific site is for those who are Whitefish employees and are asymptomatic, but it's also open to the public. However, if you are symptomatic and arrive at this site, they will re-direct you to a doctor's office for the complete symptomatic test. And the test is self administered and free, courtesy of the state.

The asymptomatic test requires you to swab 1/2 inch up your nose for 10-15 seconds which is just as effective as the full nasal cavity swab.

Turn around time for test results is five to seven days and someone from Flathead Community Health Center will contact you.

"We're trying to keep our business owners, workers, those front line people that aren't in health care as safe as possible," Hilary Naleway with the Whitefish Community Health Center said." So, we're giving people a chance to come here as often as they want throughout the summer as tourists come back to the valley."

Naleway also explained why testing like this is so important.

"In theory we should be able to catch an outbreak before it explodes," explained Naleway.

In its first week, Naleway says between the Whitefish and West Glacier clinics, they've administered around 100 tests. She says this drive-up clinic will be available throughout the summer months.

The Whitefish Clinic is located in the Whitefish High School parking lot at 1143 E. 4th St.

Hours are currently weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., however Naleway says they're looking at switching their hours to be from noon to 6 p.m. to make it more accessible for employees.