By: KDKA-TV’s Jennifer Borrasso
BUTLER, Pa. (KDKA) — The Pennsylvania Department of Health is sending “strike teams” to set up coronavirus testing centers throughout the state.
One of those will be in Butler County, but there is some confusion on when it will be up and running at Michelle Krill Field. Hundreds of people will now have to wait until later this week to get a free coronavirus test after a delay was announced.
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Leslie Osche, the chair of the Butler County commissioners, said it’s been a big headache. She said AMI, the testing company that is working with the state, emailed the county on Tuesday morning about the delay, blaming a lack of staff.
“This week was strategically good because we had people coming back from the Thanksgiving holiday, many people who were traveling or those who need to be tested,” said Osche.
Osche said talks about a testing site in Butler began in October. Then less than 24 hours before the opening, the delay was announced Tuesday.
“They wanted to have additional staffing or they didn’t have sufficient staffing,” Osche said. “We are the only county that has had the delay.”
Osche said AMI announced Friday as the new start day. She said she never heard from the state Department of Health.
A state Department of Health spokesperson told KDKA the delay was necessary due to the staff coming from other sites.
“I’m disappointed, especially to have to do this in the 11th hour after we had already had released the information,” said Osche.
With nearly 4,700 coronavirus cases, 80 deaths and 40 patients in the hospital, Osche says access to testing is paramount.
“This was going to relieve some of the hospital’s testing site capacity because they have been very, very busy,” the county commissioner said.
The free testing is now scheduled from Friday through Tuesday, with 450 tests per day. No symptoms are necessary for a test and it is drive-thru or walk-in. No appointment is necessary.
The turnaround time for results is two to seven days.