December 22, 2020
The Philadelphia Department of Public Health has deployed a mobile coronavirus testing truck, an effort that the city hopes will expand its ability to combat the recent surge in COVID-19 infections.
The initiative is in partnership with Conshohocken-based Aardvark Mobile Health, which has provided COVID-19 testing using mobile car units in other parts of the country.
The city's mobile coronavirus testing truck – which is at the Northeast Older Adult Center, 8101 Bustleton Ave., until 2 p.m. Tuesday – will be primarily used to respond to small outbreaks that occur in settings like workplaces and schools, the city said.
When not responding to coronavirus outbreaks, the truck will be used to hold community events in different neighborhoods each week, with special emphasis on ones where residents have been disproportionately impacted by the virus and may not have as much access to COVID-19 testing. Philadelphia has published a calendar of when and where those events take place on its website.
Only people with coronavirus symptoms or asymptomatic individuals who have been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19 are eligible to receive tests through the mobile truck program.
Appointments to get tested can be made online but walk-up testing is also available without appointments. Test recipients will have no out-of-pocket costs at the truck, and their insurance information will not need to be submitted.
Those tested at the truck will collect their own samples via a nasal swab under the supervision of an instructor, who will ensure tests are done safely and successfully. Instructional videos and images will be provided to show recipients how to properly collect a test sample.
The mobile COVID-19 testing truck will be able to accommodate those with disabilities, and language translation services will be available, too.
Test results are expected to be returned within 1-3 days.
🚨 New Mobile COVID-19 Testing Truck Alert!— Philadelphia Public Health (@PHLPublicHealth) December 21, 2020
We've teamed up with @PhilaParkandRec & @aardvarkel to bring free COVID-19 testing to hot-spots, underserved communities & facilities to provide testing services, including walk- up testing! We'll post all upcoming testing events. pic.twitter.com/r0tqi4GEs9
Philadelphia health officials on Monday reported 1,629 new coronavirus infections over the weekend, bringing the city's total to 85,795 since the pandemic began in March. The week beginning Dec. 6, Philadelphia reported 6,333 people tested positive for COVID-19, and the week before that – Nov. 29 through Dec. 5 – the city recorded 7,369 new cases, which has been the greatest weekly total during the pandemic so far.
The city has published a database of all COVID-19 testing on its website.