Changes coming to county COVID-19 testing options
Last updated 11/29/2022 at 11:31am
Allegheny County continues to respond to the evolving pandemic. With lower daily infections, deaths and hospitalizations, the Health Department, along with its partners, are making changes to some of the testing options available to residents.
The most noticeable change will be the elimination of the Curative stationary and mobile testing sites at the end of the year.
"For the past two and a half years, Curative Inc. provided Allegheny County residents with a much-needed flexible and expansive COVID-19 testing service," said ACHD Director Dr. Debra Bogen. "With the increasing availability and use of at-home tests and the reduction in COVID-19 cases in the county, the need for this expansive testing option is not the necessity it once was."
During Allegheny County's peak testing week during the omicron variant surge of 2021-2022, nearly 30,000 tests were administered at its sites throughout the region. The need for COVID-19 testing in the community has decreased substantially in the year since then.
Most recently, the 11 sites combined have averaged less than 500 tests a week. The busiest testing site for much of the pandemic was the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History in Oakland. This site administered 244 tests over the course of the last month. The least visited testing site averaged less than one test a day over the course of the last month.
Curative will close its sites in two phases, with the first on December 2 and the last on December 30.
On December 2, four sites will close: Homestead Waterfront kiosk (AIU parking lot), Mr. Smalls testing kiosk, Smithfield Street kiosk (Downtown at Human Services Building) and the Parkway Center Mall (park and walk-up trailer).
The other three testing sites will close on December 30. They include Bridgeville (park and walk-up trailer), Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History, and McKeesport (drive-thru trailer). December 30 will also be the final day for the four fleet vans, which service a variety of sites during a given week.
The elimination of Curative's COVID-19 testing services in Allegheny County coincides with the company's plans to end testing throughout the country.
"As we approach the winding down of testing sites, the Health Department prioritized keeping open the sites that served our most vulnerable residents," remarked Dr. Bogen. "These sites have faithfully served residents who most need the services since the earliest days of the pandemic. For many, they provide a valuable testing safety net."
Currently, at-home, rapid antigen tests are covered by many insurance providers. Testing is also available at most clinics, urgent care centers, emergency departments and some pharmacies.
The Health Department has also worked with many community partners to ensure residents, especially the most vulnerable, have free at-home testing options available to them and will continue to do so after the Curative testing option is no longer available.
To date, the ACHD has distributed 61,200 at-home COVID-19 test kits to partner organizations, who then provide them to the stakeholders they serve. Community organizations interested in obtaining at-home COVID-19 tests to provide to their stakeholders should contact the Health Department by calling 412-687-ACHD (2243).
"Throughout the pandemic we have worked diligently to keep our community healthy and safe from a virus that has hospitalized more than 16,000 of our residents and killed 3,500 more," stated Dr. Bogen. "As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, the Health Department will continue to adapt to changing needs and to make sure testing options are available to residents, regardless of their ability to pay."
Residents interested in learning more about COVID-19 testing options available in Allegheny County, as well as the state of the pandemic can visit: alleghenycounty.us/COVID