To catch and contain COVID-19, testing is step one

Since the pandemic sent the country into lockdown, it seems for many that any sniffle, rash, or pain could be a COVID-19 symptom.

A person in full PPE is administering a COVID nasal swab test.

“There’s a real crisis of anxiety right now,” says Kent Bream, an associate professor of Clinical Family Medicine and Community Health in the Perelman School of Medicine. One step to quelling fears is taking a test.

Though only one piece of the effort to stem infections—prevention through vigilant use of masks, handwashing, social distancing, and an eventual vaccine are also key—COVID testing is a cornerstone of arming people with information they can act on. If you test positive, there are important ways you can help your loved ones—and your entire community—to stop the spread through isolation and contract tracing.

Bream, who also serves as medical director of the Sayre Health Center in Cobbs Creek, says the availability of COVID testing is an indispensable step toward protecting the physical and mental health of Philadelphians. “We need testing to tell people that it’s OK to go for a walk, to send their kid to school, to be able to visit a relative. We’re creating a pathway to confidence.”

Penn Medicine is responsible for a vast swath of Pennsylvania’s COVID testing. To date, the Health System has performed and processed nearly 238,000 tests—about 3,000 per day, on average—which accounts for roughly 9% of all testing in Pennsylvania, according to David Roth, chair of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. 

Additionally, Penn helps to operate two community testing sites in the city: At 4040 Market Street, an indoor site newly located from the previous 41st and Market Street parking lot (Call: 267-414-2303). Also in West Philadelphia, the Sayre Health Center (in partnership with Penn Medicine) at 227 S. 59th Street is operating a drive/walk-through site (Call: 215-474-4444).

This story is by Lauren Ingeno. Read more at Penn Medicine News.