Why Allegheny County Is Cutting Back on Covid Testing Sites

The first phase of closing 11 testing sites begins Dec. 2.
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PHOTOS COURTESY CURATIVE

As Allegheny County continues to see a drop in daily COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths, the Health Department and its partners continue to evolve available testing site options.

Beginning Dec. 2, Curative Inc. will start the first phase of closing its 11 testing sites throughout the county. The second phase of closures will take place on Dec. 30, according to a health department news release. 

Sites closing on Dec. 2 include the Homestead Waterfront kiosk (AIU parking lot), Mr. Smalls testing kiosk in Millvale, the Smithfield Street kiosk (Downtown at the Human Services Building) and the Parkway Center Mall (park and walk-up trailer).

Sites closing Dec. 30 include: Bridgeville (park and walk-up trailer), Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History in Oakland and McKeesport (drive-through trailer). Dec. 30 will also be the final day for the four fleet vans, which serve a variety of sites.

“For the past 2½ years, Curative Inc. provided Allegheny County residents with a much-needed flexible and expansive COVID-19 testing service,” said Dr. Debra Bogen, department director, in the release. “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.”

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During Allegheny County’s peak testing week during the omicron variant surge of 2021-22, nearly 30,000 tests were administered at its sites throughout the region. 

Most recently, the combined 11 sites have averaged fewer than 500 tests a week. The busiest testing site for much of the pandemic was the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History parking lot. This site administered just 244 tests over the last month. 

 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,” said Bogen in the release. “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.”

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 ends.

To date, the Health Department has distributed 61,200 at-home COVID-19 test kits to partner organizations, which then provide them to stakeholders they serve. Community organizations interested in obtaining at-home COVID-19 tests should contact the Health Department at 412-687-ACHD (2243).    

Residents interested in learning more about COVID-19 testing options available in Allegheny County, as well as the state of the pandemic, can visit the county’s COVID webpage here

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