Excela Health closing COVID-19 testing center, lifting some visitor restrictions

UNITY TWP., Pa. — After 15 months and administering roughly 26,000 drive-through COVID-19 tests and more than 7,000 face-to-face evaluations, Excela Health in Westmoreland County is closing the Unity Township COVID-19 testing center Monday.

The hospital decided on the move after major progress in the ongoing fight against COVID-19 and “phenomenal success” with COVID-19 cases dropping. According to a news release, only 52 new patients tested positive at Excela Health during June.

The hospital attributed this to the rising vaccination rate in the county, with 57.5% of residents now having received at least one vaccination and 48.4% who are fully vaccinated.

The center opened in March 2020 on Frye Farm Road in Unity Township.

“The center was a phenomenal success and staff working there were highly effective in supporting a frightened community throughout the course of the pandemic,” noted Dr. Carol Fox, Excela health chief medical officer. “This venue provided an extremely safe and well-organized experience for the care team and those presenting for screening. There is no doubt that this center has been an essential part of identifying the virus and controlling its spread in our community, as well as helping those who tested positive to get the care they required.”

Community members with COVID-19 symptoms should contact their own primary care provider for next steps, and patients will still be seen virtually or in person within their practices or at an alternate location for evaluation and testing, if necessary.

The hospital is also updating its visitor guidelines for both the hospital and outpatient settings (effective Tuesday), which include updated visiting hours of 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on inpatient floors, with two visitors allowed. Other departments are allowing one visitor.

Face masks will still be required to be worn and health screenings will continue.

“The support of family, friends and clergy cannot be overstated when it comes to a person’s overall health and well-being,” Fox said. “Throughout the pandemic, our staff has doubled as care team and family support when visitation was restricted. We are pleased to be able to relax those guidelines and welcome visitors back to our hospitals.”