HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Department of Health Senior Advisor Lindsey Mauldin held a virtual briefing to discuss COVID-19 testing efforts in Pennsylvania.
“The virus is still present in our communities, which reinforces the need for continued testing across the state,” Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said. “AMI Expeditionary Healthcare (AMI) has been a significant partner to the Department of Health by providing pop-up testing in counties across the commonwealth without a health department. Thanks to our ongoing partnership with AMI, we can continue offering COVID-19 testing to anyone who feels they need or want a test. Much of the news and attention has shifted to COVID-19 vaccines, but testing is still the best way to determine your exposure to and to ultimately stop the spread of COVID-19.”
The department has been contracting with AMI to perform pop-up COVID-19 testing in counties across the state since September 2020. The contracts were funded by the federal Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity (ELC) Enhancing Detection grant.
COVID-19 cases have been steadily rising in recent weeks, and some officials are concerned about losing the progress the state has made in 2021. Vaccinations are being administered by the thousands every single day, and a rise in numbers is a cause of concern for some that think people may be loosening their efforts to stay safe.
From March 2020 through April 4, 2021, the department has received 11,938,094 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results. From May 2020 through April 4, 2021, the department has received 2,394,028 antigen test results. The total combined number of tests reported to the department is 14,332,122 since COVID-19 testing began in the commonwealth. The number of Pennsylvanians who have been tested by PCR or antigen tests is 5,514,287, which roughly equates to 43.1 percent of the Pennsylvania population. Some people have been tested more than once.
Some COVID-19 protocols for businesses and restaurants were lifted on Sunday, April 4, which shows a sign that there may be light at the end of the tunnel as we get closer to all adults being vaccinated.
Individuals in Phase 1B are now eligible to be vaccinated, the next step in the recently-revised vaccination plan which aims to have all adults in the state eligible to schedule a vaccination starting April 19. Gov. Wolf announced this plan to align with President Joe Biden’s call to ramp up vaccinations in the country.