Hundreds line up for free‌ ‌COVID-19‌ ‌testing‌ in Northampton‌ ‌County‌.

Written by on December 2, 2020

Hundreds line up for free‌ ‌COVID-19‌ ‌testing‌ in Northampton‌ ‌County‌

By Jim Deegan & Jen Rehill

December 2, 2020

Medical personnel use specialized swabs to gather samples to test for coronavirus, such as at this drive-through COVID-19 testing station. Elaine Thompson/AP

Hundreds waited in line Wednesday in Northampton‌ ‌County for the first day of free COVID-19 testing at a new pop-up site deployed by the state.

Listen to the story.

Northampton and Lehigh counties saw more than 5,000 new cases in the last 14 days. Now anyone can get a free test at the Bethlehem Township Park-And-Ride‌ ‌lot‌ ‌on ‌William‌ ‌Penn‌ ‌Highway‌. 

It’s part of a new so-called “strike team” deployed by the state to areas with surging cases. On day one – some waited nearly three hours at the drive-through and walk-up site.

“The AMI guys they’ll come out, they’ll hand out to the car to get people registered, so when they come up they’ve got a QR code, they scan, they give them the test and they move on. Unfortunately it takes some time to get all these people through here.”

Todd Weaver is director of Emergency Management for Northampton County. 

“Our role is basically logistics and support to the Department of Health and AMI, the contractor they have here. We’re providing generator power, communications and any other logistical needs that they have.”

Lines of cars were waiting by mid afternoon Wednesday.

“Unfortunately it takes some time to get all these people through here,” said Weaver. “Right now for the last car, it could be an hour to two hours, depending on how it goes there. Some cars could have four people. Some may have one. It’s kind of varying a little bit,” he said.

The site’s open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will remain in place until Sunday. 

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