Free COVID test center opens in Union County; 94 screened on first day

Robert Inglis/The Daily Item EMT Jayla Lee seals up a COVID-19 Test inside a bag on Monday at the drive through COVID-19 drive through testing site at 4 Bells Church in Millmont.

SUNBURY — The Department of Health on Friday announced that Shikellamy State Park will be the location of a drive-thru COVID-19 testing clinic.

The Northumberland County EMA is working with the state Department of Health and AMI Expeditionary Healthcare (AMI) to set up the free testing site from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. The Shikellamy State Park testing site is located at the Marina Section, 236 Marina Road, Sunbury, PA, 17801.

Emergency management director Steve Jeffery said those getting tested will follow the signs to the testing area, fill out the paperwork and receive their tests. The results will be returned within a few days, he said.

“While recent decreases in daily positive cases are promising, they don’t negate the need for testing,” Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said in a media release. “We encourage anyone who feels they need or want a test to take advantage of these free pop-up testing locations. From March 2020 through Feb. 18, 2021, the department has received 10,032,502 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results. From May 2020 through February 18, 2021, the department has received 1,591,792 antigen test results. The total combined number of tests reported to the department equals 11,624,294, or the number of times Pennsylvanians have been tested since COVID-19 testing began in the commonwealth. The number of Pennsylvanians who have been tested by PCR or antigen tests is 4,921,135 which roughly equates to 38.4 percent of the Pennsylvania population. This number is lower because some people have been tested more than once.”

Up to 450 patients can be tested per day. 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. Testing is also open to individuals who are not county residents. 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, according to DOH.

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, according to DOH.

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