WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Saturday Eyewitness News learned new details on a significant step towards recovery from the coronavirus right here in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
It was announced during Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine’s press conference, that a drive-thru testing site will now open on Monday to first responders – and Tuesday to other eligible patients who register.
Eyewitness news broke the story when the site for mobile testing was revealed as the Mohegan Sun Arena parking lot.
Due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Northeastern Pensylvania– state and local officials have worked together for over a week to set up the public testing site.
Luzerne County Manager, Dave Pedri says, “right now we have to do what we can, and the first thing we have do is test. After testing comes treatment, and after treatment comes a transition back to society.”
Wilkes-Barre resident Joe Richie believes the testing is necessary. “I absolutely think the testing needs to be done,” says Richie.
The drive-thru testing begins Monday. Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine says it’s for, “100 first responders and healthcare workers who live or work in Northeastern Pennsylvania and are having COVID-19 symptoms.”
Starting Tuesday the site will be open daily— all first responders, healthcare workers, and Pennsylvanians over the age of 65 who are having symptoms consistent with covid-19 can be tested at this time.
“We will be able to test 200 people a day and pre-registration is required,” says Dr. Levine.
You can register for an appointment at health.pa.gov. Be sure to bring your email confirmation of your appointment with you to the site.
The only way to get to the testing site is to take I-81 to exit 168.
“You will stay in your car, a sample will be collected and you will then be directed back onto the highway to return home to self isolate while you are awaiting the results of the tests,” Levine.
Pedri explains, “coming out of the arena you won’t be able to turn right down to the Mundy Street area. You will only be able to turn left and back onto I-81”
One Luzerne County resident says he doesn’t mind people coming in from out of the area to be tested.
“As long as they abide by the six foot stay away distances and a lot of the basics that they’re trying to push for what’s going on no I don’t have any problems with them coming in,” says Ed Gayz of Duryea.
COVID-19 testing results are expected to take 2-3 days.
“We are hopeful that the results will give us a better understanding of what is happening and how we can stop the further spread of COVID-19 in this region in Pennsylvania,” Levine
“We need to get to a place where everybody can get some type of testing. Whether it’s an anti-body test to see if you’ve already had it, whether its a test to find out if you currently have it, ” says Richie.
As for how long the testing site will remain open— Pedri says, “the sheriff’s have been on standby for two weeks, so hopefully this thing will be done in two weeks and hopefully it will be done before then.”
We are also working to find out how you can register if you don’t have internet access, as soon as we find out we will let you know.