Montco testing site to re-open in new location, after officials say county may have reached peak

UPDATED: 8:20 p.m.

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Montgomery County’s community-based testing site at Temple University’s Ambler campus is closed, but it will instead re-open this week on the campus of the Montgomery County Community College in Whitpain Township.

Officials want to reassure everyone who lives near the college that the county is taking steps to protect the community.

County Commissioner Val Arkoosh said the site will work the same in Whitpain Township as it did in Upper Dublin. When someone registers for an appointment, they are given a list of instructions.

“They are not to get out of their car,” she said. “The process is set up so no one ever has to get out of their car.”

Registrants are told not to make any stops along the way; they’re expected to drive straight to the testing site and then straight home.

Some residents around Temple Ambler’s campus voiced concerns about the testing site being in their backyard. However, Arkoosh said they didn’t hear about any issues at the Upper Dublin site.

“And I will also tell you that many of those neighbors put up signs the day the first National Guard unit left, thanking them for their service. So I think, as far as we can tell from Upper Dublin, it was a very positive experience,” she noted.

Arkoosh reported more than 2,000 positive cases of coronavirus in the county on Monday, along with 91 total deaths.

However, she’s “cautiously optimistic” the county may have reached its peak.

“Based on the results from our testing site, it appears we may have peaked in terms of positive test results early last week,” she said. “That tells us the social distancing is working, that we seem to be decreasing that general community spread, and hopefully, we’re on our way down. Hopefully this will hold.”

However, that doesn’t mean social distancing guidelines should be ignored.

“If people go out, these numbers can go right back up. We are not in a place where people can start going back out,” she said.

In addition, Arkoosh said all hospitals in the county still have available beds, both general and ICU. But, the peak for hospitals can come several days after the high report of cases.

“People getting admitted to the hospital is often something that happens later. In fact, some people are home for several days and then seem to take a turn for the worst,” she added.

Before people can return to regular everyday life, Arkoosh said there needs to be way more rapid result testing available, along with better contact tracing to alert people to possible exposure.