New North Philadelphia COVID-19 testing site accepting all residents

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A free COVID-19 testing site in North Philadelphia geared toward helping underserved communities is now open and doesn't require any paperwork or appointments.

The site at Drexel University's Stephen and Sandra Sheller Family Health Service Center is now offering drive-thru testing to residents at 11th and Parrish streets.

The site will be open on Tuesdays every week from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

More than two dozen cars were in line before medical professionals at the site officially began seeing patients Tuesday.



"My hopes are to be tested and be negative," said North Philadelphia resident Robin Roberson.

Widespread testing has been limited to mostly essential workers and symptomatic people with a doctor's note.

But this site is unique in that it's open to everyone.

Medical workers at the site said patients don't need be presenting symptoms, health insurance isn't needed, and a doctor's referral isn't required.

"I know they tell me the test does hurt, but I'd rather get it done and get it over with," said North Philadelphia resident Vicky Glover. "People need to come and take advantage of it and stop being scared."

A major goal is to help those who either don't have access to testing or face difficulties meeting requirements in heavily impacted communities.

"The African American community has been plagued with COVID-19 and have not had equal opportunity to be tested like other communities," said Dr. Mary Thornton-Bowmer.
As of Monday, there have been more than 41,000 tests conducted in the city.

The plan at the new site is to test at least 70 people with the understanding that more testing kits might be needed, according to Aaron Chavis, Director of Operations Family Practice and Counseling Network

"We have other testing sites throughout the city and we may have two borrow some tests from them in order to meet that goal for today," Chavis said.

Chavis said testing will continue every Tuesday at the site as the coronavirus outbreak continues.

CASES

On Tuesday, health officials said the City of Philadelphia reported 577 new cases of COVID-19. The total is now 13,445 cases.

The city also reported 32 new coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the total to 516 deaths.

Heath Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said the city is still seeing clusters of cases in congregate settings.

He said 288, or 56%, of the city's deaths are in nursing home residents.

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