If you want to get tested for coronavirus, where can you go? And how do you know if you’re eligible?
City officials are still recommending that only people experiencing COVID-19 symptoms try to get tested. The main symptoms identified so far are fever, dry cough, or shortness of breath.
There are more than 20 sites around the city that residents can access, all for free, according to Farley — but it’s hard to find a full list. That’s partly because medical providers are trying to encourage folks to call beforehand, instead of just showing up and potentially overwhelming workers.
We compiled a map of the test sites we were able to confirm (see below).
There is currently one test site operated by the city, a walk-up facility in Center City. Officials aren’t providing the exact location for fear of overloading capacity. It’s open by appointment (call 267-491-5870) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, but also only to health care workers and people over 50.
It does not require a doctor’s recommendation, but you should bring your driver’s license and insurance card if you have them.
Most of the other sites are operated by hospitals or health systems, and do require a referral, although you don’t have to get that from a primary care physician — you can just call the number provided. The Rite Aid site in West Oak Lane is open only to health care workers or first responders. These people do not need a referral and do not need to be showing symptoms.
Confirmed test sites in Philly
- CHOP Karabots Pediatric Care Center, 267-425-9800
- Einstein Physicians Olney, 215-927-1937
- Einstein Physicians Mayfair, 215-332-4164
- Jefferson Center City, 215-955-6000
- Jefferson Navy Yard, 800-533-3669
- Tower Health, 215-552-2800
- Rite Aid, 215-224-9997
- Penn Medicine, 215-316-5151
- Temple University Hospital,215-707-2000
- Temple University Hospital – Episcopal Campus, 215-707-1200
- Temple University Hospital – Jeanes Campus, 215-728-2273
- Center City testing site, 267-491-5870
How else you can get tested
- If you’re a patient at Temple University Hospital, call 215-707-6999
- If you’re a patient at Einstein Medical Center, call 800-346-7834
- If you’re a patient at a City Health Center, call 215-685-2933
- If you’re a patient at Jefferson Health, they ask patients to contact them via the JeffConnect portal
- If you’re a patient at Mercy Hospital, call 215-748-9000
- If you’re a patient Penn Medicine, call 267-785-8585
- If you’re a patient at Mainline Health, call 866-225-5654
Why aren’t more people allowed to get tested?
Around the globe, many health experts have been beating the drum that testing “is absolutely essential” to control the coronavirus pandemic. But in Philly, tests are only available to people who are already showing symptoms — and they’re prioritized for health care workers and people who are older than 50.
That’s because there’s still a widespread shortage of equipment, like face masks and other personal protective equipment for providers, and sterile swabs for taking samples.
Plus, widespread testing doesn’t always yield results, per Health Commissioner Farley. It’s now accepted you can carry the COVID-19 coronavirus without showing signs. But if you get tested while you’re asymptomatic, Farley has repeatedly said, it might just be too early to detect the virus, and you could end up with a false negative — and false sense of security.