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Stadium testing site will fold tents on Friday

The city’s coronavirus testing site is pictured next to Citizens Bank Park in South Philadelphia on Friday, March 20, 2020. The site, which opened Friday afternoon, is the first city-run drive-through location where people can be swabbed to determine if they have the coronavirus. At the time of opening, it was only for people with symptoms who are over 50 and healthcare workers with symptoms. Photo/Tim Tai, Philadelphia Inquirer

The drive-through COVID-19 testing site at Citizens Bank Park will close on Friday.

City officials said federal funding was pulled from the stadium site and resources will be distributed to the more than 20 other testing sites across the city.

“This is one of many federally supported sites around the country that is shutting down,” Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said. “But the availability of testing is still available, widespread across the city. More than 20 sites will be available.”

According to Farley, the South Philly stadium testing site was the only site in the city that had federal support and no other sites would be affected.

“The sites are being done primarily with resources from the hospital systems, sometimes with some support from the city,” Farley said. “So the federal government’s pulling out will not have any impact on any other site.”

The stadium site was used primarily for healthcare workers and people over 50 that showed severe symptoms of the virus. Farley said the South Philly site accounted for about 10 percent of all testing done in Philadelphia. He said the site had its slowest day on Sunday, but that is largely due to other sites opening.

“It appears that the demand of that site is slowly going down over time,” he said. “I think because of availability elsewhere.”

Positive cases continue to rise as 539 new cases were reported by officials at Mayor Jim Kenney’s 1 p.m. briefing. A total of 3,728 positive cases were confirmed on Monday, compared to a total of 12,628 negative cases. Officials said 495 cases required hospitalization and there were two new deaths, bringing the city’s total to 45 through Monday.

Farley said the city had the option to continue running the stadium site under its own funding but was better served shifting resources, such as testing kits and remaining personal protective equipment elsewhere, such as support hospitals and long-term facilities.

“We could have continued that site but we felt it was actually better to use the assets we have and distribute them across the many other sites in Philadelphia so that access is distributed.”

A city-run location in Center City, announced last week, will continue to serve those who are over the age of 50 and are displaying symptoms consistent with COVID-19 coronavirus, as well as health care workers who are displaying symptoms. The site is available by appointment only and a referral is required. Those who meet the criteria and want a test can call (267) 491-5870 to obtain a referral.

The stadium site will continue to serve patients between 1-6 p.m. until Friday.

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