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Department of Health Announces Rotating COVID-19 Testing Site in Blair County

03/12/2021

Harrisburg, PA - The Department of Health today announced that beginning Tuesday, March 16, a rotating drive-thru and indoor walk-in COVID-19 testing site will open in Blair County. This is the second of five counties that have requested a long-term COVID-19 testing site in partnership with AMI Expeditionary Healthcare (AMI). The location of this testing site will rotate between three different locations in Blair County.

“While recent decreases in daily positive cases are promising, they don’t negate the need for continued testing,” Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said. “We encourage anyone who feels they need or want a test to take advantage of all COVID-19 testing clinics if they feel they have been exposed to COVID-19. Much of the news and attention has shifted to COVID-19 vaccines, but testing is still the best way to determine your exposure to and to ultimately stop the spread of COVID-19.”

From March 2020 through March 11, 2021, the department has received 10,928,503 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results. From May 2020 through March 11, 2021, the department has received 1,928,503 antigen test results. The total combined number of tests reported to the department is 12,892,694 since COVID-19 testing began in the commonwealth. The number of Pennsylvanians who have been tested by PCR or antigen tests is 5,184,760 which roughly equates to 40.5 percent of the Pennsylvania population. Some people have been tested more than once.

The department has been contracting with AMI to perform pop-up COVID-19 testing in counties across the state since September 2020. The contracts were funded by the federal ELC Enhancing Detection grant. Counties under the initial contract, as well as the total number of patients tested, can be found here. Under a contract extension, the department is grateful for the tremendous partnership with AMI and participating county entities to provide pop-up testing over a 12-week period in five regions across the commonwealth. News releases for each of the 12 weeks can be found here.

The department believes that increased testing in counties will help determine the prevalence of the virus and assist the county in moving forward. There are currently 45 counties in the commonwealth where the percent of positive cases is above five percent on the Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard. Each county is being monitored as the state continues to examine all available data.

The AMI testing site will be open to anyone who feels they need a test. It is important that even people with no symptoms who have tested positive isolate in order to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Beginning Tuesday, March 16, a drive-thru and indoor walk-in testing clinic in Blair County will be held to help contain the spread of COVID-19 cases. Testing will be available daily from 9 AM to 6 PM, every Tuesday through Saturday, until Saturday, April 3, with the opportunity to extend past that date based on need.

The testing dates and locations are as follows.

  • March 16 - 20:  Beale Ave. Office Complex (former Butterick Plant), 3007 Beale Ave. Entrance C, Altoona, PA, 16601.
  • March 23 - 27:  Morrison Cove Memorial Park, 201 South Walnut Street, Martinsburg, PA, 16662.
  • March 30 - April 3:   Hill Side Community Church, 508 Cambria Street, Bellwood, PA, 16617.

Up to 450 people 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. 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.

Individuals who are tested should self-quarantine while they await their 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.

Counties in need of a long-term COVID-19 testing site should contact the Pennsylvania Department of Health to discuss the possibility of setting up one of the four remaining AMI long-term pop-up sites.

For the latest information for individuals, families, businesses and schools, visit “Responding to COVID-19” on pa.gov.

While vaccine supply from the federal government remains limited, the Department of Health is working to ensure the vaccine is provided in a way that is ethical, equitable and efficient. To keep Pennsylvanians informed about vaccination efforts:

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: Barry Ciccocioppo - RA-DHpressoffice@pa.gov

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