Three Rivers explains COVID-19 testing process

BREWSTER, Wash. – Residents needing COVID-19 tests may have a longer wait.

Three Rivers Hospital offers non-urgent COVID-19 testing from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. The demand for tests fluctuates, so the hospital has been notifying patients that results may not come in until 48 to 72 hours later.

“We are urging everyone to please plan ahead when they need to travel,” said Business Development Coordinator Jennifer Best. “Check with your airport and airlines regarding their requirements for testing. Some have extended the testing window to 72 hours before your flight, and you also need to keep in mind how long it could take for results to come back.”

Best added that some airports, such as Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, offer on-site testing. However, there could be fees and other requirements to be mindful of.

Although the holidays are over, that turnaround time has not yet lessened.

A Quest Diagnostics representative picks up send-out tests by 5 p.m. each weekday from the hospital and transports them to its laboratory in Seattle. However, the same laboratory also accepts samples from surrounding states in addition to healthcare providers throughout Washington.

“We’re told Quest accepts several thousands of samples every day, and they are run in batches,” Best said. “Because of the workflow involved there, it’s also impossible to request that they pull out one sample to run faster than all the rest.”

Those needing a travel test should come to the hospital’s main entrance between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays, where they’ll be asked to check in and complete the required paperwork before testing. Three Rivers Hospital is located at 507 Hospital Way in Brewster.

Residents who have symptoms or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 should call the Three Rivers Family Medicine clinic for screening before getting tested, at (509) 689-3749. The clinic staff helps patients complete some intake paperwork over the phone and provides directions to the private testing area.

For non-travel testing, Director of Ancillary Services Jeremy Vandelac advises testing about 2-3 days after developing symptoms, or five days following an exposure. This may help ensure more accurate results.

Due to short supply, the hospital reserves its rapid tests and in-house PCR tests for ER patients needing transfer, inpatients, and those presenting severe symptoms.

Non-urgent questions about the testing process at Three Rivers are best directed to to keep phone lines open, but residents can also call the hospital at (509) 689-2517. Three Rivers also provides updates online at