coronavirus pandemic

Federal Testing Site to Open in Southwest Philly as Positive Tests Hit 40%

The testing site, which will be run by FEMA, will operate out of a recreation center and have the capacity to test 500 people a day, Philadelphia's health commissioner said. It is expected to open Friday.

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A federal COVID-19 testing site is expected to begin testing 500 people a day when it opens Friday at a recreation center in Southwest Philadelphia, the city's health commissioner said.

The site will operate out of Cibotti Recreation Center at 2500 South 77th Street, Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole said at a weekly briefing Wednesday.

A soft launch is expected Thursday, she said, followed by a full launch of the site on Friday. It is expected to test people from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

COVID-19 cases in Philadelphia are "skyrocketing," Bettigole said, with an average of 3,108 new daily cases over the past week. That's the highest average daily positive case count of the entire pandemic.

Four out of every 10 COVID tests taken in Philadelphia are showing positive results, she said. That's also a high for the pandemic.

She added that it's likely that many more people are infected with the coronavirus, thanks in large part to the very transmissible Omicron variant, and that case counts are still "rising rapidly."

Philadelphians and all residents of the region are urged to continue social distancing, including avoiding eating and drinking indoors in public, and to wear medical-grade masks, including N-95s and KN-94s, instead of cloth masks, Bettigole said.

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