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COVID testing site set up at WSH grounds

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry A free COVID-19 nasal swab testing site is available from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays at the Israel Building at Warren State Hospital.

Testing is available and officials are hoping residents will take advantage of it… properly.

COVID-19 testing and positivity rates are up in Warren County.

There have been 808 tests administered in the past seven days and about 20 percent of them have been positive, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

A testing site has been set up at the Israel Building on the grounds of Warren State Hospital. That site is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday at least through mid-October. Nasal swab testing is provided by AMI Expeditionary Healthcare through the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Results are delivered between 24 and 48 hours. There is no cost and no appointments are required.

Testing is also available at Warren General Hospital. However, hospital personnel are encouraging those who are asymptomatic and those who would like to be tested less than five days after an exposure to go to the state hospital.

Dermicia Hudson of AMI gathers information from a patient Monday at the free COVID-19 testing site at the Israel Building at Warren State Hospital. Thenasal swab testing site is available from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays.

WGH CEO Rick Allen said the testing service at the state hospital has been handling about 50 cases per day. That has reduced the load at Warren General, but not enough.

“We are still seeing record volume of patients presenting for COVID-19 tests,” Allen said. “I would like more to go to the AMI clinic as that allows us (WGH emergency room and Walk in Clinic) to see those patients with symptoms and who may need more medical assessment and care.”

Allen said the state hospital testing center has the capacity to handle many more tests — up to a total of 200 per day.

The timing of testing is also important. Testing less than four days after exposure is not reliable, according to Allen.

“We are experiencing a number of people presenting for COVID-19 testing” after a potential exposure or contact “not following medical and CDC guidelines regarding the potential incubation period of four to five days,” he said.

“In other words we are seeing a number of patients show up to be COVID -19 tested one, two or three days following potential exposure. The issue is that testing before the virus incubation period of five days may result in what may be considered a false negative — the virus has not had time to show up.”

“What should occur is that people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 need to isolate or quarantine for four days and present for testing on day five,” Allen said.

61 NEW COVID CASES

There were 61 new cases of COVID-19 reported in the county over the weekend, with 36 on Saturday and three on Monday.

According to statistics from the department, there have been 458 cases in the county so far in September and 3,293 total. Of the total, 2,589 are confirmed and 704 are probables.

The department added another death to the county’s data, bringing the local COVID death toll to 115.

The number of residents who are fully vaccinated rose from 15,021 to 15,079, while partial vaccinations also rose — from 2,408 to 2,414.

According to CDC, Warren County, and all of Pennsylvania, remains in the high community transmission category.

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