Post-holiday COVID-19 concerns

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — After attending holiday gatherings, many are lining up to get tested for COVID-19 and a local hospital has received federal support to combat COVID-19.

A lot of people are looking to get tested, whether they are feeling symptoms or were exposed.
There was a big turnout at one testing site in downtown Scranton Monday where the tests are limited.

“Today all of our appointment slots and for the rest of the week all of our appointment slots have been taken,” Lackawanna County Area Agency on Aging director Jason Kavulich said.

After another holiday weekend, people of all ages lined up to get tested for COVID-19. Lackawanna County is under a state of emergency, allowing for this rapid COVID testing site on Penn Avenue to begin.

“This week we have free COVID testing being offered to all members of the public, if they’ve been exposed or if they have COVID-related symptoms,” Kavulich said.

“Results take about 15 minutes once we finish testing. If you do get a positive test, we are asking that you still seek out your physician for another confirmation of symptoms and test,” LPN Megan Olszar said.

The testing site is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. all week. The site saw more than 50 walk-ins by noon. About 150 tests can be done per day, including those pre-registered.

“There have been several walk-ins. It makes life easier to pre-register just so we can have a better flow and make it just solidified a little bit better,” LPN Kelly Walker said.

According to data from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Lackawanna County has seen a recent spike in positive COVID cases over the holidays, with a total of 869 positive cases reported since New Year’s Eve.

Meanwhile a federal strike team has been deployed to a Scranton hospital to help combat COVID-19. It is expected to arrive this week. A spokesperson for Commonwealth Health Regional Hospital of Scranton stated last week: “Regional Hospital of Scranton has been selected to have military clinicians on site to assist with staffing to expand hospital bed and EMS capacity for our region with the goal to help relieve some pressure on other local hospitals.”

Other hospitals within the city and region are seeing a record number of COVID patients. As of Sunday, 323 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19 across the Geisinger health system. 87 percent are not fully vaccinated.

If appointments continue to fill up, Lackawanna County officials says they will keep that testing site open.

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