Bradford County exceeding COVID-19 testing expectations

Bradford County Emergency Management Coordinator Sarah Neely provided an update on COVID-19 testing at Thursday’s county commissioners meeting.

Bradford County has exceeded the expectations of the Pennsylvania Department of Health when it comes to the amount of COVID-19 testing, according to county Emergency Management Coordinator Sarah Neely.

Neely said at Thursday’s Bradford County Commissioners meeting that the county has seen double the expected threshold of testing.

During Thursday’s meeting at Sunfish Pond County Park, Neely said as of last week, 61 residents had signed up for the free testing at the public testing site outside of Walmart in Athens Township. This site has been in operation since June 17.

“It will be running as long as there is a need,” she noted.

“Anybody who wants to get tested, go out and get tested — especially if it’s free,” Neely said.

People can get tested repeatedly in the case they believe they might have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 after their initial test, according to Neely.

Both positive and negative test results are reported to the state on a daily basis.

Those wishing to be tested can register at or call 866-448-7719 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Testing is free and doesn’t require a doctor’s prescription.

Neely noted that registration involves a few simple questions and the nasal swab testing, while “not the most comfortable thing in the world,” is painless.

Testing is available from 7 to 9 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, weather permitting, by appointment for those ages 18 and older.

In Thursday’s update from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Bradford County continued to hold steady with 52 confirmed cases, seven probable cases, and three deaths to date. The county also has 3,875 negative tests to date.

Across the commonwealth, the state reported an additional 719 positive cases and 36 new deaths from Wednesday. Approximately 77% of the 92,867 cases reported to date statewide have recovered.

“The elderly are the most vulnerable population,” Neely said. “We are seeing an uptick in cases in the 25 to 49 age range right now all over, but the good news with that is that those folks aren’t necessarily the ones who are going to be hospitalized or become critically ill from this.”

According to the Department of Health, 37% of those affected are in that 25 to 49 age bracket, while nearly 24% are ages 50 to 64, and nearly 27% are 65 and older.

As more people get tested, Neely said more positives are possible — and there can also be false positives. She noted that Bradford County has had a few of these, which were corrected with follow-up testing.

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