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UPDATED: March 18, 11:15 a.m.
Several white tents have been assembled on Citizens Bank Way, right by the Phillies team store, and tractor-trailers are parked in front of the ballpark.
The tents are labeled “PA Task Force 1,” which is a group of first responders deployed to help when natural disasters strike.
Kathy Matheson, a spokesperson for the Philadelphia Fire Department, confirmed that the task force was activated to assist the city.
“The City of Philadelphia is working with the commonwealth of Pennsylvania to stand up testing sites for COVID-19 coronavirus,” she said. “Details about these sites are still being finalized to ensure the safety of anyone tested and the staff that will work at them. This work is a testament to the city’s commitment to rapidly expand the amount of coronavirus testing in Philadelphia and is one part of our overall strategy to help reduce the spread of the disease. PA-TF1 was activated by PEMA to support the city’s response.”
Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) spokesperson Ruth Miller said they can't confirm the location of any testing sites in Philadelphia or Montgomery County.
“Information will be shared as soon as plans are finalized,” she said.
South Philadelphia resident Christopher Armata saw the activity as he walked by Wednesday morning.
“You see cops blocking everything off and tents, hazmat suits,” Armata said. “You see this and be like, ‘Where am I walking into?’ I feel like I’m in a scene of a movie.”
Neighbor Denise McGee also noticed the tents while walking her dog Tuesday night.
“It’s a little intimidating-looking. It looks like a big festival or a big carnival, if they had some type of something outdoors, but you know it’s not that,” McGee said.
Since the often-crowded Xfinity Live is now closed, both residents said it was unusually quiet in the area.
“Nobody’s sure how this is gonna play out because nobody’s dealt with this before,” McGee added.
There are some established testing sites in the city: Penn Medicine has some in West Philadelphia and Radnor; Jefferson Health in Center City and Abington; Temple Health in North Philadelphia; and CHOP in West Philadelphia. Main Line Health also has sites in Radnor, as well as Newtown Square. ChristianaCare in Delaware has been doing drive-through testing.
The tests are free.
Officials urge people with dry cough and fever to get tested, but talk to their doctors first before going to a location.