Gov. Tom Wolf announces plan to expand coronavirus testing, predominantly in rural counties
Gov. Tom Wolf detailed a plan Tuesday to expand coronavirus testing in counties without their own local health departments via five mobile testing units.
The program will be led by AMI Expeditionary Healthcare, which already tested roughly 440 patients per day under a state contract in predominantly rural areas. This expansion, with a total cost of $8.9 million, will allow as many as five times the number of people to be tested: Up to 450 patients per day at each of the five units.
“Our goal is to make sure anyone who needs a test in Pennsylvania can get one,” Wolf said.
Pennsylvania significantly increased its testing capacity — from roughly 7,000 tests per day to 58,000 per day — since the spring, when officials struggled to secure basic testing supplies like swabs and chemical reagents.
Nonetheless, the state currently ranks second-to-last (ahead of Puerto Rico) in the nation in terms of tests completed per 100,000 residents, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
The plan announced Tuesday calls for five mobile teams to traverse the state, focusing on the 61 of 67 counties without their own local health departments over the next 12 weeks.
Free testing at these sites will be available to anyone who wants a test, said Michael Huff, the state’s director of testing and contact tracing. These mobile units will be deployed to those counties with positivity rates — a measure of unmitigated community spread of the virus — above 5%, which at this point includes the vast majority of counties statewide.
This plan will not end the pop-up testing sites the state coordinated at parking lots and other locations, Huff said.
Wolf said the mobile units will launch Wednesday in Bedford, Mifflin, Northampton, and Tioga counties. A fifth, in Butler County, will begin Friday.
No appointment is necessary at any of the testing sites, which are first-come, first-served. Testing at the first four counties will be available daily from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM Wednesday through Sunday. Beginning 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 next Tuesday, Dec. 8.
The first five testing sites 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
- Northampton County: William Penn Highway Park & Ride, Emrick Blvd., Easton, PA, 18045
- Tioga County: North Penn Mansfield High School, 73 W. Wellsboro St., Mansfield, PA, 16933
COVID Test Results Call Center
Monday – Sunday
9:00am – 5:00pm