COVID Testing

If you have COVID-like symptoms, or have possibly been exposed to someone with COVID, please call the Vashon Medical Reserve Corps for testing guidance: (844) 469-4554.

MRC Testing Effort Aimed at Containment

Vashon Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), VashonBePrepared, and Vashon Pharmacy have partnered on a new testing effort aimed at containing the recent surge of COVID cases on the island. The program focuses on those with potential symptoms of COVID and those who may have been exposed to someone with COVID. This focus will aid contact tracing so those with disease can rapidly be diagnosed and given advice to avoid spread of infection.

As many know, the Vashon Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) demobilized its full service mass testing site in June when the VashonBePrepared activation was scaled back to Standby/Monitoring level. Now, the surge in cases driven by the Delta variant of the virus requires a renewed contact tracing and containment measure approach while the island is still at a relatively low infection rate compared to mainland communities. This same contact tracing strategy helped the island avoid disaster during the dangerous spike in the pre-vaccination days last November and December.

MRC Testing Scenarios

Follow these steps if you test positive for COVID, have possible COVID symptoms, or have possibly been exposed to COVID. In all cases, we ask that you contact MRC at (844) 469-4554 to arrange for testing. All MRC testing is free of charge. Please note that no on-island medical provider currently conducts testing for travel or for clearance prior to a medical procedure.

Positive Test: The Vashon MRC is working with Public Health – Seattle & King County to provide contact tracing and support of those with COVID. If you have a positive COVID test result of any kind, please contact the MRC at (844) 469-4554 to discuss isolation strategies, your contacts and available support services.

Symptoms or Exposure: If you have symptoms or may have been exposed to someone with COVID, please call the MRC at (844) 469-4554 to assess your risk and to facilitate testing and possible quarantine. COVID tests are like other diagnostic tests- MRC will help determine the best test for you to get and the appropriate timing of testing. Even if you decide to test off-island, calling before a test will allow MRC experts to work with you to minimize viral transmission during the current surge in cases.

Testing Prior to Medical Procedures

Vashon MRC is focusing on testing to support contact tracing and does not provide testing for travel or medical procedures. A good solution is to ask the medical provider who is ordering the procedure to order a test for you within your health care system. You can also ask your medical provider to tell you what type of test would be acceptable so you can seek an appropriate test from another mainland location. Testing before a medical procedure, usually requires a supervised test, usually a PCR test, and a short turnaround time that is not currently available from any Vashon medical provider.

Testing for Travel

The Vashon MRC does not perform testing for this purpose and pre-travel testing is not available from any Vashon medical provider. However, airlines and cruise companies have been adapting to this need. For example, a number of travel companies have started offering a supervised telehealth rapid test process from a contractor and you can do those tests from your home. The best thing is to check with your travel provider to make sure you show up at the airport or the port with the negative test proof you need in order to board the plane or ship.

Two Main Types of COVID Tests

PCR Test: A PCR test (also sometimes called RT-PCR, qRT-PCR or NAAT) is the gold standard COVID test and requires a testing laboratory. Although PCR tests are very accurate, they often involve a one to three-day turnaround time to get the results. There are PCR home test kits available that you collect yourself and send to a lab by overnight delivery service.

Rapid Test: The second main type of test is a rapid test or antigen test. These tests resemble at-home pregnancy tests. They work almost as well as PCR tests for those who have symptoms and the result can be obtained in a few minutes. However, antigen tests are much less reliable for those without symptoms. Rapid tests can be reassuring if you are having symptoms, especially if you suspect a summer cold or hay fever. If you have a negative rapid test and your symptoms are not improved after 3 or 4 days, you should be retested with a PCR test. The best of the antigen tests is the Abbott BinaxNOW test. A version of this test is used by Vashon MRC for symptomatic patients.

Testing Options

Vashon MRC: Currently, the only way to get tested by Vashon MRC is by calling our screening number: (844) 469-4554. You will be given directions during the phone call. We are currently based out of the trailer behind the Vashon Pharmacy at limited hours and by appointment only. All MRC tests are free of charge.

Vashon Pharmacy: The Pharmacy is currently referring all test inquiries to Vashon MRC: (844) 469-4554. The Pharmacy does not currently offer home test kits for purchase due to supply chain challenges and staff safety concerns. In addition, the home test kits may not be acceptable to travel and health providers, and PCR home test kits may not provide a result in the required time limit. Please do not enter the Pharmacy if you have COVID-like symptoms.

Purchased Home Tests: Several over-the-counter antigen tests, including the BinaxNOW test, are now available for purchase. It is also possible to purchase home PCR tests such as the Everlywell kit. Home tests can be purchased at Walgreens, CVS, Amazon, Costco and many other outlets. It is a good idea to have a test kit ready at home for that time you wake up with cold symptoms.

Sea Mar Clinic: SeaMar provides testing for current patients by appointment only. Limited appointments are available by calling (206) 463-3671. Sea Mar uses a rapid test that is most reliable for symptomatic patients. Sea Mar does not provide testing in advance of medical procedures or travel.

Vashon Natural Medicine: VNM does not perform COVID testing.

UW West Seattle: The location is fairly close to the north end ferry terminal at Fauntleroy at 2801 SW Thistle Street (SW Athletic Center) and offers testing by appointment:

Multicare Indigo Acute Care Ruston: This clinic located near the south end ferry terminal at Point Defiance performs an in-house PCR test and often provides results within a few hours.. For symptomatic patients, patients’ insurance will be billed for a medical visit and the test. For others, a $99 fee is charged. Get more information at:

Mainland Healthcare Providers: All the major health care providers such as Kaiser, Swedish, and Multicare do PCR testing. You can make the arrangement by following the instructions they provide on their websites.

Mainland Pharmacies: Many of the chain pharmacies such as Walgreens and CVS operate drive up testing sites by appointment. Check with the pharmacies to get information on signing up.