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April 10, 2020

Pennsylvania gets drive-thru testing site catering to Amish people arriving by horse-and-buggy

The Central Pennsylvania Clinic makes sure coronavirus diagnostic exams are available to everyone, even those who don't drive cars

A drive-thru coronavirus testing site has opened in Pennsylvania to serve members of the Amish community, and instead of cars and motorized vehicles the location will serve the community by accommodating horse and buggies. 

The Central Pennsylvania Clinic has opened a test site in Belleville, Mifflin County, to ensure that COVID-19 testing would be available to the large Amish and Mennonite populations in that part of the state, Vice reported this week.  

Many Amish and Mennonites do not drive or own cars as part of their strict religious beliefs that do not allow many modern comforts. The new testing location will allow believers to adhere to their beliefs and get tested while practicing social distancing. Although the site is small, it is one of few in rural Pennsylvania, since COVID-19 cases mostly have been concentrated in the southeastern part of the state, specifically Philadelphia and the surrounding counties. 

The opening of the Belleville site also is intended to promote awareness and methods to control the spread of the coronavirus in these religious communities, the organizer of the testing site said. Health care worker remind the Amish who come to be tested that sick people should be quarantining and large gatherings – such as church services, weddings, and funerals – should not be taking place right now. 

"We already have a relationship with this community, and testing is an opportunity to raise awareness about the need for isolation of vulnerable individuals," D. Holmes Morton told Vice. 

The site has hitching posts for horses and was even built instead of a barn in Belleville. It opened to the community this week with FDA approval.

At traditional coronavirus drive-thru testing sites, drivers get get nasal swabs while remaining in their vehicles to maintain social distancing. Here is a list of testing site in the Philadelphia region and South Jersey.

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