POTTSTOWN — A walk-up testing site has opened in Pottstown for area residents who meet certain criteria to be tested for COVID-19.
Montgomery County commissioners said the site opened on at the Office of Public Health’s Pottstown Health Center, located at 364 King St. Testing will be available Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., by appointment only, county Commissioners’ Chairwoman Dr. Valerie Arkoosh announced at a daily news briefing.
To register for an appointment, residents should call 610-970-2937 beginning at 8:30 a.m. on the morning of the intended appointment. Phone lines will remain open until 10 a.m. or when all time slots are filled, whichever comes first. Officials said Spanish-speaking operators or a language line translator will be available.
Those residents eligible for testing include: Persons of any age with symptoms of sudden illness, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, loss of smell or taste, or gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, with or without fever; Anyone with known or suspected direct contact to someone with COVID-19 or; Anyone who has been recommended by their doctor to get tested.
“This includes first responders or health care workers who know that they were exposed to an individual with COVID-19 or themselves are experiencing any signs or symptoms,” Arkoosh said.
“Testing at this site will be a self-administered nasal swab, the same format currently being used at our Whitpain and Norristown locations,” Arkoosh explained during the news briefing. “The individual will be asked to place the testing swab in their nose as directed by personnel on site and staff will be present to provide instructions and answer any questions throughout the testing process.”
Officials said residents who wish to be tested do not need a driver’s license or other form of identification.
“You do not need health insurance and you do not need a prescription or doctor’s order to be tested. Testing is provided free of charge and there is no requirement that you live in any particular municipality,” Arkoosh explained.
The Pottstown walk-up site will not be open on weekends or on Memorial Day.
County officials previously opened a walk-up testing site in Norristown at the Delaware Valley Community Health Norristown Regional Health Center and a drive-thru site at the central campus of the Montgomery County Community College in Whitpain. Those two community-based testing sites also continue to operate.
Prior to this site opening, Pottstown area residents had to travel to those sites to get tested.
The chairs of NAACP chapters in Montgomery County pushed for more testing sites in low-income areas, where the population is statistically more likely to be infected.
In an April 20 letter to the county commissioners, the chapter presidents wrote "the county's strategic approach to this pandemic should have a clear and articulated goal which acknowledges the increased risk to African Americans and other disenfranchised communities."
A pop-up test site sponsored by the Black Doctors COVID Consortium was held on May 9 in the parking lot of Second Baptist Church where 83 people were tested, Montgomery County Commissioner Ken Lawrence Jr. among them.
It was this test which revealed that, despite having no symptoms and taking preventative measures, Lawrence is carrying the virus. He is now self-isolating in his home.