Montgomery County relaxes COVID-19 testing rules as 2nd death reported

UPPER DUBLIN, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Montgomery County has relaxed its requirements for people to be tested for the coronavirus, as the county reports its second death from COVID-19.

The death reported on Wednesday was an 84-year-old man from Abington with underlying health conditions. The other person who died was a 72-year-old man also from Abington.

In all, the county reports a total of 219 cases.

TESTING REQUIREMENTS RELAXED

Since the Montgomery County testing site at Temple University's Ambler campus opened on Friday, they have tested about 1,055 people for coronavirus.

Now, even more people are eligible to be tested in Montgomery County.

"We have the capacity to somewhat relax our testing criteria," said Montgomery County Board of Commissioners Chair Dr. Valarie Arkoosh.

County officials have relaxed the restrictions determining who is eligible for testing.

Previously that testing was restricted to only: people with severe symptoms including fevers of 100.4 degrees or higher and respiratory symptoms such as coughing or shortness of breath; people who had temperatures of 99.6 degrees and were age 65 and over; and first responders and health care workers who were concerned that they've been exposed to coronavirus.

Now, people of all ages can be tested as long as they have symptoms of sudden illness including fever, cough, shortness of breath, loss of smell or taste, nausea and/or vomiting.

Those wishing to be tested do not have to have a fever.

"We're also welcoming healthcare workers who provide direct patient care and have concerns with exposure to a patient with suspected COVID-19 or have symptoms of any acute illness with or without fever," Arkoosh explained of previous criteria, "and anyone with known or suspected direct contact to someone with COVID-19, and anyone who's been recommended by their doctor or healthcare provider to be tested."

The eased restrictions went into effect at 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Those who do not meet those criteria upon arrival and/or on-site registration will be disqualified for testing.

The center is also welcoming people who have experienced any sudden illness with or without fever as well as people in these categories:

- Healthcare workers providing direct patient care and concern for exposure to a patient with suspected COVID-19 OR symptoms of
- People experiencing any sudden illness with or without fever.
- Anyone with known or suspected direct contact to someone with COVID-19
- Anyone who has been recommended by their doctor to get tested.

The Pennsylvania National Guard has 80 guardsmen on hand to support local authorities and administer tests.

"These guardsmen, they specialize in the medical field. So they've come from all over the state," said Master Sgt. George Roach of the Pennsylvania National Guard's 11th Attack Wing.

Montgomery County officials want to make sure that people with more severe symptoms have access to coronavirus tests. Therefore, they ask that anyone who is experiencing mild symptoms and is otherwise healthy with no underlying medical conditions not come to the site for testing

Anyone wishing to be tested must make an appointment. You can do so online at montcopa.org/covid-19 or by calling 610-631-3000 between 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The testing site is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The testing site is not limited to Montgomery County residents.
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