Additional mobile testing sites opening in Philadelphia as COVID-19 cases surge

People wait at a COVID-19 mobile testing site

People wait at a COVID-19 mobile testing site run by the Department of Public Health in Philadelphia, Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

This story originally appeared on 6abc.

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health will continue opening mobile testing sites as a surge in COVID-19 cases drives up demand for testing.

A mobile site will open Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Oak Street Health Roosevelt, located in the Roosevelt Mall shopping center.

The mobile site will be near the intersection of Cottman and Bustleton avenues.

A second mobile site will be open from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Masjidullah – The Center for Excellence, which is located at 7401 Limekiln Pike.

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Here’s what you need to know for both sites:

  • No out-of-pocket costs
  • No appointments required
  • Walk-up testing with on-site registration
  • Rapid testing available

On Monday, the CDC changed the isolation and quarantine guidance for the general public to be even less stringent. The guidance is not a mandate; it’s a recommendation to employers and state and local officials.

Isolation

  • The isolation rules are for people who are infected. They are the same for people who are unvaccinated, partly vaccinated, fully vaccinated or boosted. The CDC says:
  • The clock starts the day you test positive.
  • An infected person should go into isolations for five days, instead of the previously recommended 10.
  • At the end of five days, if you have no symptoms, you can return to normal activities but must wear a mask everywhere — even at home around others — for at least five more days.
  • If you still have symptoms after isolating for five days, stay home until you feel better and then start your five days of wearing a mask at all times.

Quarantine

The quarantine rules are for people who were in close contact with an infected person but not infected themselves.

For quarantine, the clock starts the day someone is alerted to they may have been exposed to the virus.

Previously, the CDC said people who were not fully vaccinated and who came in close contact with an infected person should stay home for at least 10 days.

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Now the agency is saying only people who got booster shots can skip quarantine if they wear masks in all settings for at least 10 days.

That’s a change. Previously, people who were fully vaccinated — which the CDC has defined as having two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine — could be exempt from quarantine.

Now, people who got their initial shots but not boosters are in the same situation as those who are partly vaccinated or are not vaccinated at all: They can stop quarantine after five days if they wear masks in all settings for five days afterward.

The CDC says the shorter recommendation aligns with growing evidence that people with the virus are infectious in the two days before and three days after symptoms develop.

Latest COVID-19 data

Experts say early research suggests the omicron variant may cause milder illness than earlier versions of COVID-19, but the sheer number of people becoming infected and therefore having to quarantine threatens to crush the ability of hospitals, airlines and businesses to stay open.

According to the latest data from the CDC collected by the 6abc Data Journalism Team across the tri-state area, New Jersey is being hit the hardest averaging more than 14,000 cases a day. That’s a 220% increase, more than triple from two weeks ago.

Delaware is seeing over 1,000 new cases a day, up 67% from two weeks prior.

Pennsylvania has more than 9,000 new daily cases up 10% from the previous two weeks.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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