Philadelphia Health Commissioner working with government to open large COVID-19 testing site

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- With the number of coronavirus cases on the rise in our area, hospitals and other healthcare providers are working to enhance the testing process, including an increase in pop-up testing sites, but officials still want people to follow some important guidelines.

Hospital staff is in full deployment, setting up testing infrastructure outside Jefferson Health at 10th and Samson.

This is the second testing site for Jefferson. From the Center City to the Main Line, hospital networks like Main Line Health and Temple Health are doing the same.

"We are not ready to say we can test the masses but we are able to do our testing of our patients who've come in symptomatic," said Dr. Tony Reed, the chief medical officers at Temple.

How do I get tested for coronavirus?

Dr. Reed and the other networks warn, these sites are for in-network referrals only, and not yet equipped for the masses.

"Rather than testing in 50 different primary care offices, we are sending all patients to one office, having that office fully outfitted and equipped with both the test materials and the PPE," said Reed.

PPE stands for Personal Protective Equipment. Experts are concerned about a shortage of such protective gear for health care providers.

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Private Laboratory networks like LabCorp and Quest are ramping up testing efforts and infrastructure.
However, these facilities will not be seeing potential COVID-19 patients nor collecting samples. That needs to be done by primary health care providers.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is advising people with mild symptoms to self-quarantine. Those with severe symptoms are urged to get guidance from their doctor. If they don't have one, they can call county health or the state for instructions on a testing location.

Walgreens has announced it'll launch pop-up testing sites for the public. Details are coming Thursday.

State and county health departments, as well as the City of Philadelphia, are working on plans to do the same.

At an afternoon press conference in Philadelphia, Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said, "I don't have details but we are working very actively with partners at the federal government to try to have one or more large scale testing sites available."

If you need guidance in Pennsylvania, call 1-877-PA-HEALTH.
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