HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- There were approximately 150 vehicles already lined up when a pop-up testing site opened at 9 a.m. Wednesday in Northampton County.
It's part of Governor Tom Wolf's regional "strike teams," which will fan out across Pennsylvania over the next 12 weeks in a bid to improve the state's coronavirus testing efforts.
The location at the William Penn Highway Park and Ride in Bethlehem is among the first.
"Our goal is to ensure that everyone who needs a test in Pennsylvania can get one," Gov. Tom Wolf said at a news conference Tuesday.
Temporary sites opened Wednesday in Bedford, Mifflin, Tioga and Northampton counties, with another one opening Friday in Butler County. All five counties have seen rapid transmission of the virus.
The testing at these clinics is free, it's open to everyone and you don't need a doctor's referral. You will be asked to provide a government-issued ID and they're only administering 450 tests per day.
The tests are first come, first served.
Pennsylvania is reporting an average of 6,700 new confirmed infections and 73 deaths per day, both up sharply over the past two weeks, according to AP analysis of data from The COVID Tracking Project. Statewide hospitalizations have more than tripled since the beginning of November, according to Department of Health data.
Michael Huff, the state's director of testing and contact tracing, said the new testing sites will help health officials track the virus' prevalence. He predicted "even greater spikes" in new cases in a week to 10 days, when the impact of Thanksgiving gatherings will begin to be felt.
Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, offered a sobering assessment of the state of hospitals in the county on Wednesday.
"Almost every hospital is at capacity. There are two that aren't but the remainder are quite full, " said Arkoosh.
It's a similar scenario in medical centers across Pennsylvania where the number of COVID-19 patients being treated in a hospital is approaching a record 4,800.
A Pennsylvania state senator abruptly left a West Wing meeting with President Donald Trump after being informed he had tested positive for the coronavirus, a person with direct knowledge of the meeting told The Associated Press on Sunday.
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