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Coronavirus In Seattle
caption: Employee Health Nurse at UW Northwest Hospital Jeff Gates exits a tent at UW Medicine's drive-through coronavirus testing clinic on Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Seattle.
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Employee Health Nurse at UW Northwest Hospital Jeff Gates exits a tent at UW Medicine's drive-through coronavirus testing clinic on Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Seattle.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Formerly homeless adults in Seattle now being tested for the coronavirus

As the number of cases of COVID-19 continues to rise in Seattle, people living in transitional housing are now getting screened and tested for the disease.

On Tuesday a mobile testing unit from Swedish Health Services pulled up outside of Plymouth Housing in Seattle.

“It basically looks like a big mobile van,” said Plymouth Housing CEO Paul Lambros. "We have about 10 staff out there. They set up some pup tents where they can evaluate people and talk with them.”

Lambros said on the first day about 50 Plymouth Housing residents and staff were screened.

Of that, a few showed symptoms that required a full nasal swab test.

“This really works out well for us because a lot of times our tenants, it's hard to get them to go to medical appointments, things like that, and so having them onsite has been great,” Lambros said.

About 1,000 people live in Plymouth Housing but Lambros said not everyone will be screened or tested.

“We target folks that are in our homeless community who are very vulnerable,” Lambros said. “They have mixed disabilities, so they might have both mental health and behavior health issues along with some physical disabilities.”

Older residents, he said, will be the focus for testing as the elderly are the most susceptible to contracting the coronavirus. Residents living in single residency occupancy housing or efficiency apartments who share community spaces like bathrooms will be screened first.

“People that we've identified through the staff of Plymouth, people that want to be seen by Swedish. And we're bringing them down and they're lining up and they're getting evaluated,” Lambros said.

For those that were tested, Lambros said they expect results in three to four days.

Over the next few weeks, he said, the van will go to other housing units.