Pennsylvania National Guard troops called to help with COVID-19 testing site in Montgomery County

  • Rachel McDevitt

Master Sgt. George Roach / Pennsylvania National Guard

Nearly 80 members of the Pennsylvania National Guard are assisting Montgomery County Emergency Management Agency with operating a COVID-19 testing site in Upper Dublin Township, Montgomery County.

(Harrisburg) — About 80 members of the Pennsylvania National Guard have been activated to help Montgomery County operate its first mass testing site for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Montgomery County has been the hardest-hit by the outbreak in the commonwealth. It had 59 of the state’s 268 cases as of Friday afternoon, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

County emergency management officials are opening a drive-through testing location at Temple University’s Ambler Campus in Upper Dublin Township at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 21.

Testing will be by appointment only for people who meet one or more of the following criteria:

• Fever at or above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit AND respiratory symptoms such as cough or shortness of breath
• Temperature at or above 99.6 degrees Fahrenheit AND 65 years of age or older
• First responder AND concern for exposure to a patient with suspected COVID-19 OR respiratory symptoms
• Healthcare worker proving direct patient care AND testing not available through employer AND concern for exposure to a patient with suspected COVID-19 OR respiratory symptoms

Guard spokesman Lt. Colonel Keith Hickox said the soldiers assigned to the testing site will screen patients, take samples, and direct traffic.

More than 50 guard members were activated earlier to assist the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency with planning and to transport home former passengers of a cruise ship that dealt with an outbreak.

Governor Tom Wolf has said he would not use the National Guard to enforce a statewide shutdown order for nonessential businesses.

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