Coronavirus: PA Health Dept. Update

Written by on March 2, 2020

Coronavirus: PA Health Dept. Update

By Jen Rehill

March 2, 2020

A woman wears a mask in New York out of concern for the newly emerged coronavirus. However, experts say that the commonly worn surgical masks aren’t very effective protection. Photo | Mark Lennihan / AP

The Pennsylvania Health Department may start conducting its own lab tests for the coronavirus later this week. Currently the CDC is handling all testing for the virus.

There have been no confirmed cases in the state.

Pennsylvania received a test kit with supplies for evaluating multiple patients several weeks ago from the CDC. But after faults were found with kits sent out across the U-S, all lab results defaulted to the federal government.

A Pennsylvania health department spokesman says now the CDC, working with the FDA, has determined states can use the original kits – with new recommendations to ensure accurate results.

The state health department is working on those updates and hopes to have testing capacity in place this Friday.

Local testing is expected to speed up detection of coronavirus infections and help spot patterns of suspected cases.

As for who gets the test, state health officials are working in collaboration with county and municipal health departments, including those in Allentown and Bethlehem and the CDC, to make those decisions. 

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