PHILADELPHIA - Philadelphia officials are asking residents to avoid COVID-19 pop-up testing sites that are not affiliated with the city's health department.
The Philadelphia Department of Public Health says they were notified last week of small pop-up tents that were offering free COVID-19 testing in Center City.
"Our real worry is that someone just shows up on the sidewalk and puts up $100 tents and says, ‘Hey, I’m giving out free COVID testing. And, give me your contact information.’ We’re not sure these things are legitimate. We’re not sure if they are not legitimate," Director of Communications for the Philadelphia Department of Health, James Garrow explained.
A Chicago company operated 2 pop-up testing sites outside vacant shops on Chestnut Street claiming to be FEMA testing centers. That company's President tells Fox 29 they have shut down their Philadelphia centers after the City started asking questions. He says a subcontractor collecting specimens was to blame for giving out false information.
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Residents can use the department's testing finder at the city's COVID-19 information page. The city also states people experiencing symptoms, but cannot find testing, should act as if they are already positive.
"If you’re got symptoms of COVID and can’t get tested, assume that you are positive. Assume you’ve got it. And, start to take those protective measures now," Garrow commented.
Officials say residents should look for familiar names who are providing testing like churches, non-profit organizations or local pharmacies. When a pop-up COVID-19 testing site is spotted, people are asked to call the health department at 215-685-5488.
The city's warning came in their COVID-19 response update on Monday. In the same update, officials revealed that in the last two weeks 38 percent of COVID-19 tests in Philadelphia have come back positive
Over the last two weeks, Philadelphia is also averaging 2,654 new cases of COVID-19 per day.