Department of Health releases coronavirus testing data

The information comes amid nationwide calls for more transparency around the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Brett Sholtis/Transforming Health

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(Harrisburg) — Amid nationwide calls for more transparency around the coronavirus pandemic, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has for the first time released some data on testing for coronavirus. 

As of 6 p.m. Wednesday, the state has tested 175 people for the coronavirus in the week since it began testing at its facility in Exton. 

Of those people, 16 tested positive. 

So far two of those 16 have had their test results double-checked by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a standard practice, according to the Pennsylvania Health Department. 

Another 59 tests are in-process, with results expected within a day. 

“We are also aware of an adult from another state who has tested positive and is hospitalized in Montgomery County,” said Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine. “This case is under investigation.”

So far, nobody in Pennsylvania has died as a result of the virus. At least 3 have been hospitalized with one person said to be in critical condition by the health department. 

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The number of positive tests is growing. For example, on Friday, there were only two cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania. The Health Department is updating the testing data on its website.

The results come as the federal government and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention face criticism for botching early testing and for the possibility that they are not performing enough tests. 

Across the U.S. — home to about 330 million people — roughly 7,700 have been tested for coronavirus so far, according to data collected through the COVID19 Tracker, a data gathering project launched March 7 by two journalists and a software engineer. There have been 27 deaths nationwide. 

So far in Pennsylvania, in every case where a doctor deemed a COVID-19 test to be medically necessary, that test was performed, said Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine. 

More: Answering your coronavirus questions

The state has the capacity to perform about 100 tests per day, Levine said. Additionally, medical testing companies such as LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics now are able to provide tests. Those companies will report any positive results to the state and those results will be made public. 

“We will meet the demand for testing, and we’re following the guidelines to do that,” Levine said. 

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