LEWISTOWN, Pa. (WHTM) — The State Department of Health is reporting a surge in COVID cases and an average of a staggering 18,000 a day over the past week.

This is driving up the need for testing and the Wolf administration has set up sites to help rural communities.

COVID testing at the Mifflin site started an hour earlier than scheduled on Tuesday morning because so many people were already lined up, ready to find out if they have the virus or not. Several orange cones were lined up in front of the Pennsylvania Fire Academy in Lewistown and were filled with cars.

Both drivers and passengers were waiting in line to get their free COVID tests so they can protect themselves during the pandemic. Health professionals say they will have their hands full.

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“I see probably in the 100’s all week, we have been very busy,” Tralana Phillips said.

At a site in Mifflin County over 150 people were tested by the time our abc27 News crew stopped by.

“They have been very patient in the lines waiting, but they understand cause coming here the line is long but it’s not as long but it’s not as long as some other places so they’re very grateful to find us here and that is free,” Phillips said.

“We went to Lewistown Hospital, and they say we be there till 8:30 – 9:00 tonight and here at this drive-thru 15 minutes and you’re done,” Christine Lyter said.

Lyter says she’s getting tested because she works closely with the elderly and doesn’t want to wait hours for a test.

“It’s a breeze, if you think you know you may have COVID or you’ve been exposed, come get tested,” Lyter said.

Others waiting in line like Leland Dukes say protecting yourself and your loved ones is the main priority.

“I mean, I’m 77 years old, so you just never know when we get it, you just never know,” Dukes said.

Dukes says he knows first-hand what it’s like if you are not careful.

“I think it’s so many people in the last four or five months, my friends have passed away and they didn’t have any shots from COVID…and that’s sad,” Dukes said.

Testing at the Mifflin County location runs through next Saturday, Jan. 15th.

You also don’t have to live in the county to get tested there, check this list of other testing sites.

  • Berks County
    Testing is available from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 9 a.m. through 3 p.m. on Saturdays from now through Jan. 8. The testing location is the parking lot of Direct Link Technologies, 2561 Bernville Road, Reading, PA, 19605. Note, enter the parking lot from Van Reed Road. 
  • Blair County
    Testing is available Monday, Jan. 3 through Friday, Jan. 7 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the parking lot of Blair Convention Center, 1 Convention Center Drive, Altoona, PA, 16602.  
  • Centre County
    Testing will be available Tuesday, Jan. 4 through Saturday, Jan. 29 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the County Recycling and Refuse Authority/Interpretive Center, 253 Transfer Road, Bellefonte, PA, 16823. 
  • Clinton County
    Testing will be available Tuesday, Jan. 4 through Saturday, Jan. 29 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday testing is from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Lock Haven University East Campus Gymnasium (former Lock Haven High School Gymnasium), 340 West Main Street, Lock Haven, PA, 17745.  
  • Luzerne County
    Testing is available Monday, Jan. 3 through Friday, Jan. 7 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the South Main Plaza, 400 South Main Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA, 18701.  
  • Mifflin County
    Testing will be available Tuesday, Jan. 4 through Saturday, Jan. 15. Tuesday through Friday testing is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday testing is from 8 a.m. to noon at the Pennsylvania State Fire Academy, 1150 Riverside Drive, Lewistown, PA, 17044.