At a COVID-19 testing site in Renton, driver after driver learns how to properly swab

A TEAM OF ABOUT 20 medical assistants staffs a busy COVID-19 testing site in Renton on a recent soggy morning.

Like a fly on the wall, I’m standing between the lanes of the former vehicle-emissions station to sketch the scene.

Many drivers aren’t swabbing their noses deeply enough. I keep hearing the worker to my right repeat the same instructions over and over: “Higher, higher; don’t twist; go in circles.”

The line of cars isn’t as long as it was in early December, when more than 1,000 people were getting tested daily, but HealthPoint site manager Rowanna Allen says she still wishes she had a big neon sign flashing over the lanes that said, “Be Patient!”

It’s taken a pandemic to make me a convert of drive-thru culture, a staple of everyday life in America that puzzled me when I moved to the United States more than 20 years ago (why not just walk!?!). The convenience of drive-thru health appointments is hard to deny. I sure look forward to getting behind the wheel when these sites start administering the much-needed vaccines.

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