Community Health

Coronavirus Tests Available in PA by End of This Week

According to an announcement by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, tests for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, will be available from the state by the end of this week.

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According to an announcement by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, tests for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, will be available from the state by the end of this week.

In a newsletter update shared by state Sen. Lisa Boscola (D-18) Tuesday, Boscola said the department will continue to forward the tests to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmation, however “the turnaround times should lessen as the CDC now only has to confirm positive samples rather than perform all the testing.”

The CDC previously provided states with testing kits, but they turned out to be faulty and were shipped back, putting testing at the state level in limbo.

In Boscola’s newsletter update, she also said there are currently no restrictions on domestic travel because of the virus. However, travelers are being reminded to take common sense precautions against illness, such as washing their hands with antibacterial soap and hot water, not touching their face and avoiding sick people.

The CDC is currently recommending that Americans avoid all nonessential travel to China, South Korea, Italy and Iran. For travel advice for other countries, visit that country’s Destination Page or Travel Health Notices page on the CDC’s website.

Last week Pennsylvania Secretary of Health, Dr. Rachel Levine, outlined the Wolf administration’s steps to prepare for community spread of the coronavirus known as COVID-19, as well as what Pennsylvanians can do now.

To date, Boscola said, the Wolf administration has:

  • Activated the Department of Health’s Emergency Operations Center to allow for enhanced response coordination
  • Maintained communication and outreach with federal, state and local partners
  • Provided symptom monitoring for residents returning to Pennsylvania from China
  • Provided information to health care professionals, businesses and educational settings
  • Reviewed and adapted current pandemic flu plans for COVID-19

“In the event of an outbreak in the Commonwealth, much of the response would focus on treating the sick, isolating them to prevent spread, and quarantining people, typically for 14 days, who may have been exposed,” the update said.

The Department of Health has created a webpage dedicated to the novel coronavirus. The page can be viewed by clicking here or visiting Health.PA.gov and clicking on the “Coronavirus Information” tab. The page provides more detailed information on the virus, symptoms, how it can spread and how Pennsylvanians can protect themselves.

As of Tuesday, there were no known cases of the coronavirus in Pennsylvania.

“There are screening guidelines in place to make sure that if COVID-19 were to make its way to Pennsylvania, we are prepared to deal with and help prevent a rapid spread of the disease,” Boscola’s office said.

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About the author

Josh Popichak

Josh Popichak is the owner, publisher and editor of Saucon Source. A Lehigh Valley native, he's covered local news since 2005 and previously worked for Berks-Mont News and AOL/Patch. Contact him at josh@sauconsource.com.

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