Governor Tom Wolf and Director of Testing and Contact Tracing Michael Huff today announced the extension of the Department of Health’s contract with AMI Expeditionary Healthcare (AMI) to provide COVID-19 testing in five regions across Pennsylvania to help contain local spread of COVID-19.
“Every day COVID continues to spread in the commonwealth, every day our numbers continue to rise, and that puts our health care system and our health care workers at greater risk,” Gov. Wolf said. “To help stop the spread, we are announcing a new testing strategy in the commonwealth, one that will help improve access to testing for Pennsylvanians in every region of the state.”
Over the next 12 weeks, five strike teams will provide regional testing for 61 counties. The six counties not receiving testing from AMI have county health departments providing other means of COVID-19 testing.
“We have seen a rapid increase of positive case counts reaching record-high levels, which gives us significant cause for concern,” Michael Huff said. “AMI has been a significant partner to the Department of Health by providing pop-up testing in counties with a high positivity-rate and other factors contributing to outbreaks of COVID-19 across the commonwealth.
“These testing sites are open to anyone who feels they need a test. It is important that even people with no symptoms who test positive isolate to stop the spread of COVID-19.”
The initial contract with AMI had two strike teams to provide testing in two different counties simultaneously. AMI deployed to:
- Centre county, testing 2,492 patients total;
- Columbia county, testing 1,068 patients total;
- Indiana county, testing 566 patients total;
- Berks county, testing 3,354 patients total;
- Northumberland county, testing 639 patients total;
- Lebanon county, testing 908 patients total;
- Huntingdon county, testing 1,396 patients total;
- Westmoreland county, testing 916 patients total;
- Blair county, testing 3,820 patients total;
- Bradford county, testing 1,513 patients total; and
- Lackawanna county, testing 1,856 patients total.
The department decided to deploy testing based on the total number of confirmed cases per 100,000 people in a county in the past 14 days as well as where outbreaks were happening, county population, and other metrics. The initial AMI testing contract and the extension were funded by the ELC Enhancing Detection grant.
The Department of Health believes that increased testing will assist in determining the prevalence of the virus and assist the counties in moving forward. Counties of concern, identified as those with percent positives above 5 percent, can be found on the Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard. Each county is being monitored as the state continues to examine all available data.
Beginning Wednesday, December 2, drive-thru and indoor walk-in testing clinics will be held to contain the recent rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in the following five counties:
- Tioga; and
Testing will be available daily from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM starting Wednesday, December 2 through Sunday, December 6.
Beginning Friday, December 4, drive-thru and indoor walk-in testing clinics will be held in Butler county. Testing will be available daily from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM through Tuesday, December 8.
The testing site addresses are:
- Butler County: Michelle Krill Field, 100 Pullman Park Pl., Butler, PA, 16001;
- Bedford County: Bedford High School parking lot, 330 West John St., Bedford, PA, 15522;
- Mifflin County: Pennsylvania State Fire Academy, 1150 Riverside Drive, Lewistown, PA, 17044;
- Tioga County: North Penn Mansfield High School, 73 W. Wellsboro St., Mansfield, PA, 16933; and
- Northampton County: William Penn Highway Park & Ride, Emrick Blvd., Easton, PA, 18045.
Up to 450 patients can be tested per day at each location. Mid-nasal passage swab PCR tests will be performed. Testing is on a first-come, first-serve basis and is completely free to all patients. Patients must be ages three and older and are not required to show symptoms of COVID-19 in order to be tested. No appointment is necessary. Patients are encouraged to bring a photo-ID or insurance card. Registration will also be completed on-site. The turnaround time for testing results is two to seven days after testing.
Individuals who are tested should self-quarantine while they await test results. Individuals who live with other people should self-quarantine in a private room and use a private bathroom if possible. Others living in the home with the individual awaiting test results should also stay at home. The department has additional instructions for individuals waiting for a COVID-19 test result. Individuals who test positive will receive a phone call from AMI while individuals who test negative will receive a secured-PDF emailed to them from AMI.
For the latest information for individuals, families, businesses and schools, visit “Responding to COVID-19” on pa.gov.
The Wolf Administration stresses the role Pennsylvanians play in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19:
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands.
- Clean surfaces frequently.
- Stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19, especially if you are unwell.
- If you must go out, you are required to wear a mask when in a business or where it is difficult to maintain proper social distancing.
- Download the COVID Alert PA app and make your phone part of the fight. The free app can be found in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store by searching for “covid alert pa”.