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Rep. Dean Saves Montgomery County’s Only Community Coronavirus Test Site

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By Keya Vakil

April 13, 2020

The site was originally set to close on April 10 after the Trump administration announced it would end federal funding for 40 coronavirus testing sites across the country.

Montgomery County will continue operating a mass drive-thru COVID-19 testing site that was slated to close on Friday. Instead, the site, formerly located on Temple University’s Ambler campus, will relocate to the Montgomery County Community College campus and remain open until late May, county commissioners announced last week.

The site was originally set to close on April 10 after the Trump administration announced it would end federal funding for 40 coronavirus testing sites across the country, but on April 8, Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Glenside) wrote a letter to Alex Azar, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, and Rear Admiral Erica Schwartz, deputy surgeon general, requesting continued funding for the site. Dean’s letter was also signed by other Pennsylvania lawmakers, including Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Middletown) and Democratic Sen. Bob Casey.

Within a day of receiving Dean’s letter, the Department of Health and Human Services reversed its decision to remove federal funding from the site.

RELATED: Popular Montgomery County COVID-19 Testing Site Will Shut Down Friday

“I’m relieved that HHS has reversed its decision which would have closed our community testing site in Montgomery County tomorrow—we know that in this pandemic the only way we will move forward is to test, find out where the disease is, try to mitigate, slow the spread, and treat earlier —that’s the way we are going to save lives,” Rep. Dean said. 

On Thursday, Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, praised Dean and her colleagues for their efforts in saving the site. 

The site is the only community based testing site in Montgomery County, which has seen more than 1,800 confirmed cases and 68 deaths from COVID-19. The site has tested nearly 5,000 individuals since it opened on March 21, and about 19% of tests from the site have come back positive for COVID-19, according to Arkoosh. She told the Bucks County Courier Times that about 71% of people tested at the site have received their results so far.

The site was closed on Thursday and Friday due to storm-related damage but will reopen on Wednesday, April 15, at the community college campus in Whitpain Township. The new site, just like the previous one, will accept individuals from across the region on an appointment-only basis.

Author

  • Keya Vakil

    Keya Vakil is the deputy political editor at COURIER. He previously worked as a researcher in the film industry and dabbled in the political world.

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