UPMC opens coronavirus specimen collection site in Somerset County

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SOMERSET, Pa. (WTAJ) — Beginning Tuesday, UPMC will begin directing patients who received doctor consultation and referral with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 to a testing site at on South Pleasant Avenue in Somerset.

UPMC says The site is not open to the public, and walk-in patients will not be tested.

Patients will need to be evaluated by their Primary Care Physician who will assess the need for the test. That doctor will then contact the local UPMC infection prevention team.

After that, the team will review key information and will call the patient to set up an appointment for testing if they deem it needed. UPMC states at that point patients should “self-isolate until that appointment.”

“An important part of testing patients for coronavirus is collecting the specimen samples,” said Andy Rush, president, UPMC Somerset. “During the collection, there is the risk of exposure. That is why we’ve created a separate, centralized collection site that ensures the safety of patients, the public and our staff.”

Trained UPMC staff will collect specimens, doing so safely in personal protective equipment that includes gowns, gloves, and N95 masks or respirators. UPMC says that collection occurs in negative pressure rooms, which ensures that air does not leave the room until it flows through a HEPA filter that removes pathogens.

The specimens will then be safely transported to one of three places for testing: the UPMC Clinical Laboratory in Pittsburgh, the Pennsylvania’s Department of Health laboratory in Exeter, PA, or a commercial laboratory.

Depending on the laboratory conducting the test, UPMC says that results could be returned in less than 24 hours or within one week.

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