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The county is offering free drive-thru testing at St. Helens High School on Wednesdays.

Updated Jan. 22

Columbia County is offering free COVID-19 tests again, on Wednesday of each week.

The drive-thru testing start up on Jan. 20. A county press release did not say what time the tests would be available, but the online registration site showed time slots from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Online registration for tests opened on Friday, Jan. 15, at the county's website. Those without internet access can also register on-site.

The testing will take place at St. Helens High School at 2375 Gable Road, St. Helens.

Columbia County is partnering with Oregon Health and Science University and St. Helens School District to manage the testing.

Insurance will be billed when available, but tests are free for those without insurance.

To qualify for testing, people must have one or more symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, have been instructed to get tested by public health officials as part of contact-tracing efforts, or be part of certain at-risk groups.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include cough, shortness of breath, fever, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, and congestion or runny nose.

The county offered free testing on four days in December through a partnership with the Oregon Health Authority.

Columbia County Public Health Director Michael Paul said that roughly 200 people were tested at each of the previous testing events.

How long the weekly events will last "is contingent on demand and availability of medical staff," Paul said. "This is surge testing so we hope to offer it as long as demand remains high at the events. OHSU is sending the medical staff so it will continue as long as the staff is not directed elsewhere."

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