Centre County’s free COVID-19 testing clinic will continue operating through the end of January, but starting next week it will be moving from its current site in the former Bon-Ton at the Nittany Mall.
Beginning Jan. 19 and continuing through Jan. 30, the clinic will move just down the road to 1155 Benner Pike, Suite 120, Centre County Administrator Margaret Gray said during Tuesday’s Board of Commissioners meeting.
Hours of operation will remain the same as they have been: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
The clinic has been at the mall since Centre County’s contract with AMI Expeditionary Health Care began on Oct. 27.
Through Saturday, AMI has performed 8,139 COVID-19 tests at the site, Gray said.
The testing site is being funded through money set aside from the county’s $14.7 million CARES Act block grant. The contract with AMI is is for up to 300 tests per day at about $79,000 per week. Gray previously said the contract will be prorated if at the end of January the site had fewer than 300 tests per day.
Dr. Jorge Simental said that the Pennsylvania labs used by AMI saw a steep increase in volume so AMI has contracted with additional labs. He expects that test results should be available to patients within 72 hours.
Michelle Mittinger, an AMI nurse working at the Centre County clinic and a State College native, said the turnaround time is important because individuals with possible exposure should isolate until they get their results.
‘We do inform people when they come in to get tested that the easiest way to treat this disease is to not get it…,’ she said. ‘Your best action is prevention and if you had some kind of possible exposure we do tell people to continue to isolate until they get their results back. We really still are in isolation conditions. We still have to wear masks and we still have to distance.’
Testing is available to anyone of any age and no appointment is needed. Photo ID is required. Individuals with insurance will be asked to provide an insurance card, but no co-pay or any other cost is charged. Those without insurance also are tested free of charge.
Mittinger said the process takes about 25 minutes. Sample collection is done with a one and one-half inch swab, she said.
‘It’s very easy,’ she said. ‘Kids tolerate it. Everybody can manage to get the test.’
Simental added that AMI has added COVID-19 vaccinations to its work nationally since the vaccines became available.
‘It’s been really a pleasure to work in the community and provide some health care solutions,’ he said. ‘We are turning these testing units into vaccination units and we hope that at some point we can at least achieve protection for Centre County community members.’