COVID-19 Testing

Testing for people with COVID-19 symptoms or close contact

If you need a COVID-19 test because you are having symptoms or may have been in close contact with someone who's sick, you need to get a COVID-19 test as soon as possible. You can make an appointment at our testing site in Bellingham at TestDirectly.com/whatcom or with any of the local testing providers listed further down on this page.   

Call us any time Monday through Friday between 9am and 3pm at (360) 778-6075 if you're unable to get an appointment within two days, and you're experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or you think you've been in close contact with someone who's sick. We'll help you get a same-day or next-day appointment. You can also email us at Health_TestingCOVID19@co.whatcom.wa.us. We monitor this inbox seven days a week. 

If you'd like to get tested for COVID-19 but you aren't experiencing symptoms and you don't think you've been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you can still register for testing at TestDirectly.com/whatcom. You can also make an appointment with one of the local providers listed on this page. If you're seeking testing for travel-related purposes, see our travel testing section on this page. 


Testing for travel, events, or other reason not related to symptoms or close contact

Travel Testing

We are unable to help schedule tests for travel to Canada or other destinations. To make an appointment for a travel-related test you can:

Check your travel destination for what you need to know about testing because some locations have specific requirements about where and when you get tested. 

Most insurance plans will not cover testing for the purposes of travel. Check with your insurance before you get tested for any travel-related testing to find out if they will cover the cost of the test. 

  • Northwest Laboratory, which operates the community testing site at the Bellingham International Airport, isn't able to bill insurance for travel-related testing. The cost is $180 for travel-related testing, with a 25% discount if payment is made at the time of service. Payments may be made with cash, credit card, or debit card.
  • COVID-19 tests are still covered, regardless of insurance status, if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or if you are a close contact of someone with COVID.

Testing for Something Else Besides COVID-19 Symptoms or Close Contact

If you're seeking COVID-19 testing services but aren't experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and haven't been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you can still get an appointment if you want one. 


WCHD Community Testing Program 

We operate a drive-through community testing site located at Bellingham International Airport, Parking Lot A in Bellingham, WA. You must make an appointment to be tested at this site. 

These videos show you how the COVID-19 testing process works at the site. This video is also available on our Testing Site Videos page in other languages: Mixteco Bajo (two variations), Mixteco Alto, Triqui, and Awakateko.

WCHD Testing Site Schedule

 
Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Morning Hours
--
--
--
7 AM - 9:45 AM 7 AM - 9:45 AM
--
7 AM - 9:45 AM
Afternoon Hours
11 AM - 
1:45 PM
11 AM - 
1:45 PM
11 AM - 
1:45 PM
11 AM - 
1:45 PM
11 AM - 
1:45 PM
11 AM - 
1:45 PM
11 AM - 
1:45 PM
Evening Hours
3 PM - 6 PM
3 PM - 6 PM
3 PM - 6 PM
3 PM - 6 PM
3 PM - 6 PM
3 PM - 6 PM
3 P - 6 PM

Register for an Appointment

For individuals with symptoms or exposure to confirmed cases only, you can make an appointment in two ways:

  • Online at TestDirectly.com. Use the TestDirectly How-To (PDF) for a user guide. (Also available in Spanish and Russian).
  • By phone at 360-778-6075: this number is only for individuals with symptoms or exposure to confirmed cases. Phone lines are open Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Interpretation services for languages other than English are available by phone.

Anyone can get tested, including people without insurance or a physician referral.

  • If you have insurance, you must provide insurance information for billing purposes when you schedule an appointment. People with insurance may be held responsible for the cost of a COVID-19 test if they do not provide their existing health insurance information.
  • If you don't have insurance, you can also be tested at no cost to you through a federal program that will reimburse the health department for all costs.
  • Most insurance plans will not cover testing for the purposes of travel. Check with your insurance before you get tested for any travel-related testing to find out if they will cover the cost of the test.

Access Test Results  

Results from our testing site are available within 24-48 hours. If you provide an email address, you will receive an email from Test Directly informing you as soon as your results are ready from Northwest Laboratory. The email will explain how to get your results. 

If you have shared a cell phone number with us, you will receive a text message informing you as soon as your results are ready from Northwest Laboratory. The text message will explain how to access your results.

If you do not provide an email address when registering, you can check your results at https://www.testdirectly.com/patient/report and insert your unique order ID, access key, and date of birth to download the report. 

Additional Whatcom County Testing Locations

Many healthcare providers in Whatcom County offer testing. The table below is updated weekly with information about which providers currently test for COVID-19. You can also view our map of testing locations.

Northwest Laboratory at 3548 Meridian Street, Suite 101 in Bellingham offers drive-through testing for patients who have referrals from their healthcare provider and have made appointments. If you have a physician’s referral, call 360-527-4592 to schedule an appointment. Visit their website for more information.

Clinic/Facility Who Can Get Tested Here? Do I Need an Appointment? Phone & Website Other Information
ARCpoint Labs of Bellingham
(4220 Meridian St Suite 101)


Anyone.
Pay-only site.
No Insurance taken, but CPT Codes are provided
to self submit to insurance

Call-in or online scheduling is preferred. (360) 922-0275
Select Bellingham location. 

Tests offered: 

PCR Testing for Travel

PCR Same Day or 2 hour result options

PCR 24 hour result guaranteed option

Rapid Test - Antigen (not for travel)

Pricing varies based on timing required

Bellingham Walgreens
(4090 Meridian St)
Ages 3 and older. Yes, online registration only.  Website This is the only Walgreens that offers PCR testing. The Walgreens locations located on Samish, Sunset, and in Ferndale offer rapid testing kits, but the results from these tests won't be accepted for travel-related purposes.
Care Medical Group Anyone.





No, walk-in only.
Drive up COVID-19 testing is available. Call for more information. 
(360) 734-4300 ext. 6

COVID-19 testing has parking lot registration with testing performed in designated area with no exposure to non-COVID-19 patients.
Family Care Network Established FCN patients should call their provider.

Non-FCN patients can access urgent care on-demand telemedicine visits.
Yes.  Multiple clinics



(360) 671-4509

(360) 354-4567


Please call ahead to describe your symptoms or use FCN's On-Demand Telemedicine service.
  
If FCN orders a COVID-19 test, you may be referred to the NW Labs Drive-Through for testing.

Lummi Tribal Health Center Native Americans residing in Whatcom County.


Yes. Same day appointment available. (360) 383-8251   
MTI Clinics in Lynden and Maple Falls (antigen only) Anyone.  No. These clinics are walk-in only.  There's no contact information for these clinics. You don't need an appointment, you just have to show up! Lynden Clinic:
Old Lynden Middle School Gym
516 Main Street
Fridays 3 - 6 p.m.

Maple Falls Clinic:
East Whatcom Regional Resource Center
8251 Kendall Road
Tuesdays 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Neither clinic offers PCR tests.
Nooksack Health Center Nooksack Indian Tribe and eligible members of federally recognized Tribes. Yes. Same day appointment available. (360) 966-2106

Providers may also order COVID-19 tests as part of a patient’s regular clinic visit.
Northwest Laboratory Anyone with a referral for COVID-19 testing from their healthcare provider.  Yes. (360) 527-4592

Can schedule by phone or online.
Rite Aid in Blaine, Lynden, Ferndale, and Bellingham (Telegraph and Northwest locations only)
Ages 4 and older.

No healthcare provider referral needed.
Yes – online scheduling only. Same day appointments are available. Healthcare provider referral not required. Schedule a COVID-19 testing appointment online: Website
COVID-19 testing only offered at Rite Aid drive-through locations. 
Sea Mar Community Health Center  Established Sea Mar patients. Yes. Established Sea Mar patients should call their provider to schedule an appointment. 

Bellingham | (360) 671-3225
Everson | (360) 354-0766

Unity Care NW Unity Care patients. Yes. Same day appointments available.
Travel testing not available. Established Unity Care patients who are symptomatic or have been exposed may call their provider to schedule an appointment.  
(360) 676-6177 | (877) 235-6850 toll free

Onsite testing completed in Bellingham and Ferndale clinics. 
Providers may refer directly to NW Labs drive through for testing or recommend TestDirectly.com. 
Whatcom County Health Department Anyone residing in the United States.
   
Insured or uninsured. No provider referral needed.
Yes. Pre-scheduling is required by telephone or online. Schedule online at TestDirectly.com.

Telephone scheduling if symptomatic: (360) 778-6075

Telephone scheduling for travel: (360) 543
-6904 
Monday-Friday 8:30 AM to 
4 PM 
The testing site is at Bellingham International Airport, Parking Lot A, 4200 block of Mitchell Way, Bellingham.

Open every day, 11 a.m. - 1:45 p.m. and 3 - 6 p.m.
WWU Student Health Center WWU students only. Maybe. Western students who are experiencing symptoms or have been in close contact with a positive case of COVID-19 should call the Student Health Center during business hours at 360-650-3400 and ask to speak to a nurse. Students can also send a secure message via MyWesternHealth. (360) 650-3400

If your provider orders a COVID-19 test, you may be referred to the NW Labs Drive-Through for specimen collection.  

If you are a healthcare provider or provide laboratory services and would like your organization added to this website, please contact us at covid@co.whatcom.wa.us.

How to get tested

If you have health insurance and a healthcare provider:

  • Your healthcare provider will help you determine if you need to be tested. They may test you or give you a referral to another testing site.  

If you have insurance but don’t have a regular healthcare provider:

  • Work with your insurance company to find a healthcare provider that accepts your insurance. 
  • If you need a test right away: 
    • Contact a walk-in or urgent care clinic. Check with your insurance to see which clinics are in your network. Call the clinic ahead of time so that you don't expose other people. 

    • If you can’t get scheduled quickly, call us at 360-778-6075 between 8:30 and 4:30 Monday through Friday for assistance with testing.

  • It’s a good idea to establish an ongoing relationship with a healthcare provider, and now is a perfect time. If you require care for COVID-19 or any other health concern in the future, you’ll want a healthcare provider on your team.

If you do not have insurance or a regular healthcare provider:

  • Visit our FAQs page for information about what to do if you don’t have insurance.
  • If you can’t get scheduled quickly, call us at 360-778-6075 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.


If you use an over-the-counter at-home test kit

As testing demand increases, many people with symptoms of COVID-19 are using at-home tests that are available over-the-counter. At-home tests are usually antigen tests, which have several benefits. They are inexpensive and produce results within minutes as opposed to molecular (NAAT, PCR) tests, which are often laboratory based and take longer.

At-home antigen tests may not detect very small amounts of virus in your sample. Therefore, at-home tests provide the best results when used while you're experiencing symptoms or after you’ve been exposed to COVID-19. If you choose to use an at-home COVID-19 test, makes sure to carefully follow the instructions on the test kit.  

  • If your test is negative: 
    • In some circumstances you may need a laboratory-based test, such as a PCR test, to confirm your negative result. If this is the case, you should isolate yourself away from others until you get the result from your laboratory-based test. Get a confirming laboratory-based test if:
      • You have symptoms of COVID-19 such as: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea
      • You think or know you were exposed to someone with COVID-19, especially if you aren't fully vaccinated, or haven't had COVID-19 in the last 3 months.
  • If your test is positive: 
    • Isolate yourself away from others. That means you should stay at home and separate yourself from anyone you live with, ideally in a separate room. 
    • Contact your healthcare provider and let them know you’ve taken an at-home COVID-19 test and have tested positive. 
    • Report positive test results. People who test positive should call the Whatcom County Health Department at 360-778-6190 to report their test result. Reporting positive results from at-home tests helps us track how and where the disease is spreading.
    • Tell your close contacts that they have been exposed to COVID-19. A close contact is anyone who’s been within 6 feet of you for 15 minutes or longer. By letting your close contacts know they have been exposed to COVID-19, you are helping protect your community by helping limit the spread of the virus.

What You Need To Know About At-Home COVID-19 Tests (PDF)

Qué necesita saber sobre el kit de prueba casera de COVID-19 (PDF)

Что следует знать о домашних экспресс-тестах на коронавирус (PDF)


Who can get tested?

Anyone can get tested. However, healthcare providers are focusing on people with symptoms of COVID-19 and their contacts. Even if you have mild symptoms, please get tested.


Should I get tested?

If you have COVID-19 symptoms you should get a test. Even if your symptoms are mild, getting a test can be informative and help you know if you are currently contagious.

If you have been in close contact with a confirmed case, you should get tested. 


What if I'm vaccinated?

Even if you’re fully vaccinated, get tested right away if you have COVID-19 symptoms. A small percentage of vaccinated people have gotten COVID-19. In addition to testing, isolate yourself from others immediately if you experience symptoms, even if you’re fully vaccinated. If you have COVID-19, you can spread COVID-19, whether or not you’ve been vaccinated. 

If you’ve been exposed to someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19, and you’re fully vaccinated and don’t have any symptoms, you do not need to quarantine, get tested, or stay home from work. You should still monitor for symptoms for 14 days after exposure, and seek testing right away if symptoms develop. 

These rules do not apply in healthcare, correctional facilities or or homeless shelters. For more information on COVID-19 testing guidance for the fully vaccinated, refer to the CDC’s Interim Public Health Recommendations of Fully Vaccinated People


Testing Costs

Most people will not be charged for COVID-19 testing that isn't travel-related. Health plans regulated by the Office of the Insurance Commissioner must cover testing and related visits. You can check with your health insurance plan to see about out-of-pocket payments associated with COVID-19.  Additional information insurance coverage and testing costs are available on our FAQs page.

If you are insured and believe you have been charged for a COVID-19 testing-associated visit that should be covered, you can file a complaint with the Office of the Insurance Commissioner.  

If you are uninsured, tell the provider who is ordering your test. There is a federal program that will cover the cost of testing, but some providers may not have access to this program. If your provider doesn’t have access to the program, they will be able to help you find a referral that will cover the costs. 

If you can’t get scheduled for testing quickly or are not eligible for insurance, please call us at 360-778-6100 between 8:30 and 4:30 Monday through Friday for assistance. We’ll help connect you to testing.


WCHD Community Testing Results

In May 2021, we discontinued the separate reporting of results from the community drive-through testing program. Archived reports are still available.