New COVID-19 testing sites set to open in Philadelphia, New Jersey

As cases rise across the tri-state area, communities are trying to keep up with testing as officials monitor hospitals.
CAMDEN, New Jersey (WPVI) -- On Wednesday morning, cars pulled into a new COVID-19 testing site along Mt. Ephraim Avenue in Camden, New Jersey.

The new site does not require appointments and offers PCR saliva tests only on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, with results expected in several days.

"We're experiencing outrageous numbers of people who are contracting the coronavirus," said Camden County Commissioner Carmen Rodriguez.

Philadelphia's Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole says a soft launch of a FEMA testing site is tentatively planned for Thursday at Cibotti Recreation Center in Southwest Philadelphia and should be fully open to the public on Friday.

Bettigole says the capacity is expected to be 500 tests per day.

City officials say cases and hospitalizations are skyrocketing, pointing out that nearly 40% of tests in the city are coming back positive, which indicates a lack of testing.

"We are getting close to the situation we all dread: in which treatable conditions can be fatal because our hospitals simply don't have room or staff to take care of those who need help," said Bettigole during a briefing on Wednesday.

As cases rise across the tri-state area, communities are trying to keep up with testing as officials monitor hospitals.

Montgomery County officials say hospitals there are full but managing, with the top request being to only use emergency rooms for dire emergencies, not for minor illness or testing.

"Some of our hospitals are considering putting off elective procedures, but for the most part, they are managing and have not asked for specific staffing help," said Dr. Val Arkoosh, chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners.

White House officials said Wednesday those 500 million free COVID tests would be available to Americans in the coming weeks.

They also added insurance companies can begin reimbursing people for the cost of at-home tests starting next week.

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