Evangelical, Geisinger: 'Adequate' supplies on-hand to treat COVID-19

Robert Inglis/The Daily Item These are the testing kits that Evangelical Community Hospital used at its drive-thru coronavirus testing site.

An outdoor COVID-19 testing clinic will open today in Northumberland County to help contain the "recent rapid increase" in cases in the county.

Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine announced the remote testing location will begin today in the parking lot of Polar Tech in Ralpho Township. Polar Tech is located at 1017 West Valley Avenue, Elysburg, PA, 17824.

Northumberland County Commissioner Chairman Sam Schiccatano said the governor’s office reached out last week to offer the testing center free for anyone who wants to be tested.

“We’re glad the governor offered this to us for anyone who wants to get tested,” said Schiccatano.

The commissioner encouraged citizens to continue following the guidelines put out by the state Department of Health (DOH) and the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.

“Wear your masks, keep your distance, wash your hands. We’ve been emphasizing that since the beginning,” he said. “But also, live your lives."

“Since the beginning of September, we have seen an increase of 598 cases in Northumberland County, which gives us significant cause for concern,” Levine said. “This testing site will be 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.”

This is the fifth county that the state Department of Health has contracted with AMI Expeditionary Healthcare (AMI) to provide testing in communities in need. AMI has already deployed to Centre, Columbia, Indiana and Berks counties to perform community testing.

DOH decides which counties to deploy testing based on the total number of confirmed cases in the last 14 days per 100,000 people as well as where outbreaks are happening, county population, and other metrics.

According to a release from the DOH, the "department believes that increased testing in the county will assist in determining the prevalence of the virus and assist the county in moving forward. Other concerning counties, identified as those with percent positives above five percent, can be found on the Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard. Each county is being monitored and observed as the state continues to examine all available data."

This week, Northumberland has the highest percent-positivity in the state at 8.6 percent. This is down from a percent-positivity of 9.2 percent the previous week.

Testing will be open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. beginning Friday and running through Tuesday. 

Up to 440 patients can be tested per day. Testing is on a first-come, first-serve basis and is at no cost to those being tested. Patients are not required to show symptoms of COVID-19 in order to be tested. No appointment is necessary, but patients should 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.

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