Harrisburg, PA - Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine today announced beginning Sunday, November 15, a drive-thru and indoor testing clinic will be held at the Blair County Convention Center to help contain the recent rapid increase in COVID-19 cases.
“Since the beginning of September, we have seen an increase of 1,760 cases in Blair County, which gives us significant cause for concern,” Dr. 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.”
The department has signed a contract with AMI Expeditionary Healthcare (AMI) to provide testing in communities in need across Pennsylvania. AMI has already deployed to Centre, Columbia, Indiana, Berks, Northumberland, Lebanon, Huntingdon and Westmoreland counties to perform community testing.
The department 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.
This week, Blair has the 19th-highest percent-positivity in the state at 8.0 percent. This is up from a percent-positivity of 5.6 percent the previous week. 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 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.
Testing in Blair County will be available daily from 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM on the following days:
- Sunday, November 15;
- Monday, November 16;
- Tuesday, November 17;
- Wednesday, November 18;
- Thursday, November 19;
- Sunday, November 22;
- Monday, November 23; and
- Tuesday, November 24.
The address for testing is Blair County Convention Center, 1 Convention Center Drive, Altoona, PA, 16602.
Up to 440 patients can be tested per day. Mid-nasal passage swab 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.
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”.
Updated Coronavirus Links: Press Releases, State Lab Photos, Graphics
MEDIA CONTACT: Nate Wardle - 717-787-1783
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