Respiratory illnesses are on the rise. Here’s where Philadelphians can find tests and other support services

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health operates five resource hubs across the city. They offer free COVID-19 tests and other health services.

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A woman administers a rapid COVID-19 test.

A woman administers a rapid COVID-19 test. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

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COVID-19, influenza and RSV cases are trending upward, especially following the holidays.

Many of these respiratory diseases share some of the same symptoms and signs, making it hard for people to figure out what they have and which treatments they should use.

Officials at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health have updated the services and locations of the city’s five drop-in resource hubs — places where residents can get free COVID-19 test kits, masks and information about prevention, treatment and vaccination.

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These hubs are located in the neighborhoods of southeast Philadelphia, Kingsessing, Olney, Whitman and East Germantown.

A poster lists places to pick up free at-home COVID-19 test kits, masks, and hand sanitizer in Philadelphia
(Courtesy of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health)

Health providers there also provide over-the-counter HIV test kits, STD testing, sexual health education, harm reduction supplies like naloxone and fentanyl test strips, routine health screenings and other services.

City officials said that the resource hub currently located in Whitman Plaza at 330 W. Oregon Ave. will close later this month after Jan. 26. In the meantime, they are looking for an alternate location for this hub, which also hosts a weekly health program every Thursday for teens and young adults.

All other resource hubs will remain open Monday through Friday.

People looking for COVID-19 test kits who can’t make it to a resource hub or other health office can order up to four tests online through a federal program. Tests are delivered in the mail through the United States Postal Service.

Most health insurance plans should cover vaccines for respiratory diseases. Underinsured or uninsured Philadelphians can access free vaccines at local sites participating in the federal COVID-19 Bridge Access Program.

Many free services are also available at Philadelphia city health centers.

Rapid influenza and strep tests are available at most pharmacies, but testing for RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, is typically done by health care providers.

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To identify places in Philadelphia that carry and offer COVID-19 treatments like antiviral medications, people can use the federal Test to Treat Locator tool to find nearby health providers and locations.

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