Walmart now part of coronavirus testing in parts of Pennsylvania
The Department of Health reached its testing goals in May with more than 283,000 COVID-19 diagnostic test results reported to the department, Gov. Tom Wolf announced today.
The department achieved its 2 percent testing goal for the month by more than 11 percent.
In addition, beginning Friday, June 5, various Walmart and Quest Diagnostics drive-thru testing locations across the state will provide testing for residents living in areas with fewer testing sites. No COVID-19 testing will take place inside Walmart stores or Quest Diagnostics Patient Service Centers.
“We appreciate the hard work done by health systems, pharmacies, FQHCs, medical clinics and other entities that are providing testing for COVID-19 across Pennsylvania,” Wolf said. “This goal is just one step in ramping up the state’s testing capabilities and it demonstrates the tremendous progress made to ensure all Pennsylvanians who need to be tested are.”
Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said: “When we established our testing strategy, we wanted testing to be accessible, available and adaptable, and we are working to meet that challenge. Anyone who believes they have symptoms of COVID-19 can get tested today in Pennsylvania.”
A soft launch of five drive-thru testing sites will begin June 5. These sites will be open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 7 to 9 a.m. to test up to 50 registered patients. Registration is required one day in advance. The testing sites that will open on Wednesday include:
• Walmart Supercenter parking lot, 63 Perkins Road, Clarion.
• Walmart Supercenter parking lot, 2711 Elm St., Erie.
• Walmart Supercenter parking lot, 1015 N. Loyalsock Ave.
• Walmart Supercenter parking lot, 100 Supercenter Drive, Clearfield.
• Walmart Supercenter parking lot, 1275 N. Hermitage Road, Hermitage.
Additional testing sites will be announced in upcoming days and will be listed on the department’s website.
“After testing, you are required to return home and self-isolate,” Levine said. “If your symptoms worsen while you are waiting for your test results, talk to your doctor. If you experience a medical emergency, please seek immediate care.”
The Department of Health is partnering with Quest Diagnostics to process the tests. At this time, the tests are being provided at no cost to Pennsylvanians. Patients will create an account on Quest’s patient portal and answer some eligibility questions to determine if they meet the criteria to get tested. The site will be available for appointment scheduling at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
If the patient is eligible, they will be notified of a testing location within a 50-mile radius of them with available appointment times. The patient will schedule an appointment time, print a voucher and bring the voucher to the location with them to their appointment. Patients will receive an email with their test results within 24 to 48 hours, and physicians will call any patient who has a positive test result.
As entities such as Rite Aid, CVS, Patient First and Walmart offer testing regardless of symptoms, more Pennsylvanians can get tested close to home, according to the Department of Health.
“Adding these locations to those already offered by hospitals, health systems, FQHCs, health clinics and other locations has expanded the testing network in the state,” according to a press release.
Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, diarrhea, chills, repeating shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and/or new loss of taste or smell
Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying.