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Allegheny Health Network Opens Coronavirus Testing Sites In Braddock, North Side

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Allegheny Health Network announced Tuesday morning that it was opening two new remote Coronavirus testing sites in the Pittsburgh area.

Doctors say these sites are helping to stop the spread of COVID-19 by minimizing doctor and emergency room visits.

These two additions bring AHN's total number of remote sites to six.

More than 2,500 patients have been tested through the network's different drive-up collection sites in Bethel Park, Erie, Monroeville and Wexford since those programs were launched in late March.

According to Dr. Amy Crawford-Faucher, they have seen a positive rate of less than six percent from those locations.

"We just don't know if we've dodged a bullet or if it hasn't quite gotten here yet," she said in a Zoom interview.

The new testing location in Braddock will be located at the network's urgent care center at 501 Braddock Avenue, and the North Side testing site will be located the former Divine Providence Hospital at 1004 Arch Street, near the National Aviary.

The testing sites will be open daily from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

"So it was for a little while, taking up to two weeks to get results back," said Dr. Crawford-Faucher said. "The labs we work with have been working really hard and beaten that back."

She said it's now down to 4 to 7 days.

To undergo testing at the new locations, patients will need to have a valid prescription order for the test from an AHN affiliated provider and they must make an appointment.

Those who have appointments for testing at the Braddock or North Side location can either drive through or walk into the site for their test.

Walk-up testing without an appointment will not be available at these sites.

At this point, tests are still limited. Dr. Crawford-Faucher said the locations can do about 40 to 55 per day, and she's not sure when if we will see a point where everyone can be trusted because of the supply and demand.

"The other concern is this test might not the best one to check to see if people have it if they're not showing symptoms. We don't have a perfect test for that either," she said.

AHN hopes to add more testing sites around the region.

"With the success to date of our initial drive up testing sites, we continue to explore other possible locations based on the pandemic's progress and the demand for testing in the many communities we serve," said Tom Walsh, MD, infectious disease specialist and medical director of AHN's antimicrobial stewardship program in a press release.

"We are very excited to be opening two new sites within our urban footprint where we can safely and expeditiously administer COVID-19 testing for those who live in these communities and other nearby neighborhoods," said Walsh.

To obtain an order to be tested for COVID-19, Allegheny Health Network continues to encourage patients who are experiencing flu-like symptoms, such as fever, cough and shortness of breath, to call their physician's office, schedule a video visit or e-health visit with their provider or call AHN's 24/7 nurse-on-call line.

After the COVID-19 test is ordered, patients will be contacted directly by AHN to set up an appointment.

If a patient is experiencing symptoms who wish to inquire about being testing at an AHN testing site but do not have a primary care physician, efforts will be made to connect them with an AHN provider.

Patients can also select an AHN primary care physician by calling 412-Doctors.

Those who have been directed to the testing locations should be aware of the following:

  • Patients will be given a specific appointment window, in order to minimize wait times.
  • Patients will drive or walk through a secured, marked area.
  • No outdoor restrooms will available at the collection locations.
  • The sample is collected via a nasal swab and the process typically takes less than 30 seconds, not including any wait times.
  • The sample will be tested for influenza as well as the novel coronavirus.
  • Testing results for the coronavirus typically take 5-7 days, depending on regional test volume.
  • Individuals will be contacted directly with their results.
  • As volumes increase, wait times for results may be longer.
  • While waiting for their test results, individuals should stay at home.
  • Those who receive positive COVID-19 test results may be issued additional care or self-isolation orders.
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