Penn Highlands To Offer Rapid COVID-19 Testing For Symptomatic Individuals In Six Rural Locations

Nov 20, 2020

As Pennsylvania sets multiple records for one-day increases in COVID-19 cases in recent days, Penn Highlands Healthcare announced Thursday it’s offering rapid COVID-19 testing in six locations.

Chief Operating Officer Mark Norman announced during a conference call that rapid testing will be available in six Penn Highlands locations for symptomatic individuals or those who have been exposed. Those include Clearfield, DuBois, Punxsutawney, Moshannon Valley, St. Marys and Huntingdon.

“We have an adequate supply of rapid tests at this time, but that could change due to demand or increases in virus cases,” Norman said.

Several counties that Penn Highlands serves, including Blair, Huntingdon and Elk, have seen higher incidence rates than the state average, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s data.

Norman said, as of Thursday, there were 45 COVID-19 hospitalizations across the rural healthcare system, which is more than double the figure last week.

Dr. Shaun Sheehan, head of Penn Highlands’ COVID-19 task force, said the hospitals have expandable capacities, and they are now more experienced in treating patients than earlier in the pandemic, like keeping them off of ventilators where possible to avoid lung injuries.

Sheehan said the healthcare system echoed CDC’s guidelines when it comes to the upcoming holidays, urging smaller gatherings and adherence to masking and distancing rules.