HARRISBURG, Pa. – Pennsylvania’s Department of Health announced this month that all COVID-19 community-based testing sites operated in partnership with AMI Expeditionary Healthcare (AMI) will now offer three forms of free testing: point of care tests where tests are performed and results are analyzed on-site, the distribution of at-home COVID-19 antigen testing and continued administration of the mid-nasal passage swab PCR testing.
"Testing is the best way to identify the virus and know what steps to take in order to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19," said Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson, who also serves as Department of Health Acting Secretary. "We continue to work with partners across the state ensuring the consistent accessibility of COVID-19 testing."
AMI currently operates testing locations in seven counties: Berks, Blair, Centre, Clarion (PennWest Clarion), Clinton, Erie (PennWest Edinboro), and Washington.
The testing sites are free and open to anyone age 2 and older who feels they need a test on a first-come, first-serve basis. PCR tests are only available to ages 3 and older. Individuals do not need to be experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 to be tested. Patients are encouraged to bring a photo-ID, but ID is not required to be tested. Appointments are not necessary as registration will be completed on-site.
Individuals who are tested should self-quarantine while they await their test results. It is important that even people with no symptoms who have tested positive isolate to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Individuals who live with other people should self-quarantine in a private room and use a private bathroom, if possible.
Others living in the home with the individual awaiting test results should also stay at home. The department has additional instructions for individuals waiting for a COVID-19 test result.
Individuals who test positive via the PCR test will receive a phone call from AMI while individuals who test negative will receive a secured-PDF emailed from AMI. Individuals who receive the antigen point-of care test will receive their results on site verbally and may request a copy of their results in writing.
"If you do test positive for COVID-19, there are available medicines now authorized for most patients," Dr. Johnson said. "Most treatment options must start within five days of initially feeling sick, so be sure to contact your healthcare provider immediately to see if any outpatient treatment options are right for you – even if your symptoms are mild."
In addition to these testing opportunities, Pennsylvanians can find testing sites in their area on the Pennsylvania COVID-19 Viral Testing Sites locator map here.
To learn more about COVID-19 treatments and where to get care, visit the PA Department of Health's website at health.pa.gov.