Harrisburg, PA - Acting Secretary of Health Keara Klinepeter today announced the federal government has approved a second high-volume and high-throughput COVID-19 testing site for Pennsylvania. Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Dauphin County will host the testing site, which is designed to meet the needs of people living in the southcentral region of the state and will be staffed by U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) contractors with additional on the ground support from the medical center.
“The southcentral location was selected because it is in an area with a high population and a region that has experienced a large increase in cases and testing needs,” said Klinepeter. “The Hershey location was also selected because of its ease of access in the region and proximity to socially vulnerable populations in the surrounding communities.”
Details on when the Dauphin County site will be operational will be available soon. Clinical staff, testing supplies and laboratory support associated with bringing in the Increasing Community Access to Testing (ICATT) team are funded by the federal government. The host entity is responsible for additional costs, which would be eligible for reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“The high-volume site will be able to provide testing for approximately 1,000 people per day,” added Klinepeter. “We would like to thank HHS and Penn State Health for partnering with the Department of Health to provide this site to help meet the testing needs of Pennsylvanians.”
The drive-through testing site will provide visitors with the convenience of remaining in their vehicles while utilizing the Hershey testing site. “The latest intense surge of COVID-19 cases reminds us that accessible, reliable testing is a key tool in managing this pandemic,” said Deborah Addo, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Penn State Health. “Penn State Health is proud to play a role in making this new testing site available to people across central Pennsylvania.”
The department recently announced the opening of an ICATT testing site hosted by Delaware County at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital for the southeast region of Pennsylvania.
Meanwhile, nine additional free COVID-19 testing sites are currently operating in Berks, Blair, Cambria, Centre, Clinton, Crawford, Greene, Mifflin and Pike counties through a partnership between the department and AMI Expeditionary Healthcare (AMI). The department also maintains an up-to-date map online detailing where the public can obtain a COVID-19 test, as well as provided funding to county municipal health departments to develop localized testing sites.
The Wolf Administration has also taken an active role in increasing testing capacity throughout the commonwealth. These efforts include:
Ensuring in-person learning continues by offering K-12 school districts free weekly COVID-19 services at no cost to participating schools through the Departments of Health and Education, in partnership with Concentric by Gingko Bioworks.
Educating counties, municipalities, and health systems about the federal reimbursement available to them for eligible COVID-related expenses including activities such as setting up their own community-based testing sites.
Meeting with manufacturers to offer incentives to increase production of COVID-19 tests to meet the growing demand from the private sector to require the public to produce negative COVID-19 tests for travel, public events, dining, and more.
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