Pennsylvania Health Department unveils nation’s first statewide COVID-19 mobile testing unit

Written by on August 26, 2020

Pennsylvania Health Department unveils nation’s first statewide COVID-19 mobile testing unit

By Julia Agos, WITF

August 26, 2020

A mobile unit designed for COVID-19 testing and education is on view at a press event in Harrisburg, Pa., on Aug. 25, 2020. The Department of Health is calling it the Community-Accessible Testing and Education mobile unit, or CATE. Photo | Kate Landis / WITF

The Pennsylvania Health Department has unveiled the nation’s first statewide COVID-19 mobile testing unit.

State Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine says Pennsylvania now can bring coronavirus testing and education directly to minority and underserved communities with a new mobile testing site.

The decked-out, 40-foot long RV’s name is CATE, which stands for Community-Accessible Testing & Education. The $498,000 project is the result of a partnership with Latino Connection, Highmark Blue Shield and the Independence Blue Cross Foundation.

State Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine says the goal is to provide testing and education for minority and underserved communities throughout Pennsylvania.

“Bringing testing to communities that otherwise would not receive it is a way we continue the fight against this dangerous virus,” Levine said.

CATE will operate on a first-come, first-served basis at no charge to patients. Tests will be sent to the state’s lab in Exton and should produce results within two days.

Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine at a press event in Harrisburg, Pa. stands next to the CATE mobile unit on August 25, 2020. Photo| Kate Landis / WITF

Operators plan to test anyone who believes they have been exposed to the virus, according to a statement from the health department. They will also hand out masks and literature on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Access to testing and education are essential to stopping the spread of COVID-19 especially in underserved communities,” Levine said.

The department has planned more than 30 stops in churches, YMCAs or community centers around the commonwealth between now and the end of next month – including stops in York, Lancaster and Lebanon.

CATE’s tour can be tracked on the mobile testing site.

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