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Rapid Antigen Testing


The availability and use of antigen tests to detect SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is increasing. Antigen test cards are a timely and easy-to-use tool for communities to receive rapid COVID-19 testing. Antigen tests look for pieces of proteins that make up the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Starting Wednesday, October 14, the Department of Health began distributing rapid antigen test cards to Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)-certified institutions across Pennsylvania by county.

How Many Antigen Tests Will Be Available?

The department will be providing roughly 250,000 tests to targeted counties each week.

Who Will Receive These Antigen Tests?

The department will allocate and deliver an allotment of tests based on the facility type. These sites will be targeted based on population size, COVID-19 outbreak hot spots, and the number of tests received from the Federal government on a weekly basis. 

What is a CLIA-certified Site?

CLIA-certified sites will administer antigen tests to targeted populations to slow the spread of COVID-19. CLIA-certified sites are entities who have a current Pennsylvania Laboratory Permit and a CLIA Certificate from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) Types of sites include:

  • Long-Term Care Facilities;
  • Personal care homes and Assisted Living/Intermediate Care facilities;
  • Higher-education institutions;
  • Drug and alcohol and Behavioral Health treatment centers;
  • State and county correctional facilities; and
  • Healthcare providers, such as Federally Qualified Health Centers, Urgent Care Centers, and some pharmacies.

Who Will Be Tested With Antigen Tests?

Targeted populations will directly benefit from CLIA-certified sites receiving antigen test kits and can provide timely test results during their visit. Targeted populations include:

  • Individuals in congregate care settings;
  • Day care workers or clients;
  • K-12 students and adults who work in K-12 settings;
  • College and university students;
  • Individuals without permanent housing;
  • Food distribution facility employees;
  • Food workers; and
  • First responders.

Resources for More Information

View the full list of labs approved to perform COVID testing.
View more information on point of care antigen test use and interpretation.

​Date created: 10/14/2020; Date updated: 12/15/2020