PORTLAND, Ore. — Appointments are no longer necessary for the COVID testing and vaccination site at the Portland Expo Center after the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) took over for Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) on Monday.
The drive-thru site in North Portland will now be open everyday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“The goal of these high volume sights is to eliminate any barriers to getting vaccinated or getting tested and sometimes getting to places can be difficult for people," said Jonathan Modi, a spokesperson with the Oregon Health Authority.
The handshake from OHSU to OHA taking control of the site frees up OHSU to operate a drive-thru PCR testing clinic at a parking garage on its campus that's appointment only. OHSU has also opened a community vaccination clinic on the first floor of the university's Center for Health and Healing Building on the south waterfront. Appointments are also required.
On Monday afternoon, after only being open for about five hours, the Portland Expo Center site had tested more than 300 people and vaccinated around 50 people.
Testing and vaccinations are free, although if you have insurance, they will collect information and bill your provider.
The test that OHA is conducting is the PCR test, which may take up to three days to get results, but is considered more reliable compared to rapid antigen tests that can give results much quicker.
KGW spoke to one woman who said she was thankful to find a place where she could just drive to in order to get tested.
"I was kind of impressed this was out there, I'm still waiting for a call from my doctor, and to know that we found this online through Oregon.gov and it was accessible, we were kind of impressed," she said.
Oregon has a full list of other testing locations in the state here.
The Oregon Health Authority said they plan on having this site opened through at least the end of February. If demand is high, they'll consider staying open for longer if needed.