Health District, Sno-Isle Libraries cooperate on coronavirus test site

Sno-Isle Libraries is supporting the Snohomish Health District in its efforts to provide drive-through coronavirus testing. 

The Snohomish Health District set up a drive-through coronavirus test site in the parking lot of Monroe Library.
The Snohomish Health District set up a drive-through coronavirus test site in the parking lot of Monroe Library.

The first session was today, Wednesday, May 6, at the Monroe Library. Another session is scheduled for Friday in the library parking lot at 1070 Village Way, Monroe. This is a pilot program with limited appointment times available from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. 

To get an appointment, complete a series of screening questions at redcap.link/snohomish-COVID19-Testing to determine eligibility. Those who meet testing criteria will receive an appointment time and testing identifier number. If multiple people qualify for testing and arrive in one vehicle, each needs to have an individual testing identifier number. 

It’s another example of the collaboration between Sno-Isle Libraries and Snohomish County government as public entities work through coronavirus restrictions. 

Sno-Isle Libraries Executive Director Lois Langer Thompson joined a virtual meeting May 5 with Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers and Snohomish Health District Officer Dr. Chris Spitters to discuss progress so far. 

Sno-Isle Libraries Executive Director Lois Langer Thompson participates in a May 5 coronavirus update with Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers and Snohomish Health District Director Dr. Chris Spitters
Sno-Isle Libraries Executive Director Lois Langer Thompson participates in a May 5 coronavirus update with Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers and Snohomish Health District Director Dr. Chris Spitters.

Reopening Sno-Isle Libraries community libraries depends on continued reductions in COVID-19 cases as Gov. Jay Inslee gradually lifts restrictions on commerce and public services. Libraries are listed in the governor’s third phase of reopening, which could come in mid-June if COVID-19 cases keep dropping. 

Sno-Isle Libraries and the Snohomish Health District began a publichealth collaboration months before the coronavirus pandemic and COVID-19 became part of daily life. 

Last year, we signed a memorandum of understanding for Sno-Isle Libraries to be a key player in public health emergencies to serve as points of distribution,” Spitters said.  

The memorandum allows the health district to use Sno-Isle Libraries facilities in Snohomish County to distribute or administer medications or vaccines on a mass basis in an emergency. 

“From the beginning of this pandemic, Sno-Isle has offered to support the health district however needed,” Spitters said. “This has been a great opportunity to test general plans developed last year under that memorandum of understanding, and we’re most grateful to the entire team at Sno-Isle for this.” 

Thompson explained the steps Sno-Isle Libraries have taken since it closed all community libraries on March 13. 

Sno-Isle Libraries staff have been moving as many programs and events as possible to online platforms, including Zoom meetings and Facebook Live streaming. 

The library district has bought more digital materials available to download and has raised customer borrowing limits. Revised online library card policies allow customers to access all Sno-Isle Libraries digital resources and online streaming materials immediately.  

Customers have taken advantage of free WiFi that’s available in each community library parking lot. 

“A fun fact is that of the Wi-Fi being used, over 50 percent has gone through Zoom as people are connecting with work and their families during this time,” Thompson said. 

“We’re also very committed to serving as an economic recovery center to help people access government aid and services to develop their work plans for their small business, to learn new skills whether that’s in person and when we reopen,” she said. 

Sno-Isle Libraries is coordinating with other library districts to develop best practices for handling returned materials when libraries do reopen, Thompson said. They’re discussing how to quarantine and clean materials in order to protect staff from exposure to coronavirus. 

Staff members are as anxious to reopen libraries as customers are to return, but Sno-Isle Libraries is committed to safety for everyone. 

“We are spending a lot of time planning for reopening,” Thompson said. “We will do a deep cleaning but again, before we reopen to the public, we will have very limited access and it will be a phased approach. Rest assured that plans are underway and the staff and we are more than excited about welcoming all of you back.”