New COVID-19 testing locations opening around Tampa Bay area
Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, along with Tampa, are opening a number of new testing sites — including temporary locations in Tampa and Plant City that will be open for the New Year's weekend.
With a dramatically increasing number of COVID-19 cases because of the omicron variant, new free testing sites are opening around the greater Tampa Bay region.
Beginning Thursday, Hillsborough County will offer testing at the Progress Village Park site at 8701 Progress Blvd., Tampa, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. It will only offer testing.
The other county-run site, the West Tampa Community Resource Center at 2103 N. Rome Ave., Tampa, remains open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week for testing, vaccinations, booster shots and monoclonal antibody therapy.
However, both sites will be closed Friday and Saturday for the New Year's holiday.
As a result, the county will open two temporary sites from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday:
- Lee Davis Community Resource Center, 3402 N. 22nd St., Tampa
- Plant City Community Resource Center, 307 N. Michigan Ave, Plant City
Each site will have only 1,000 tests per day, so people are urged to follow the county's Facebook and Twitter accounts for announcements on when that supply is exhausted.
The city of Tampa, in partnership with the Florida Department of Health, will reopen the testing site at Al Lopez Park on Friday. It will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week until further notice, including New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.
Those getting tested will enter on the north side of Al Lopez Park, pull into the parking lot and then walk up to the HUNT center to complete the test.
At a press conference Wednesday announcing the new sites, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor urged people not to go to local hospital emergency rooms for testing — saying many are being overwhelmed by an increase in patients.
"Emergency rooms are there for individuals who are seriously injured or seriously ill," said Castor. "If you have symptoms of COVID-19 that are mild, you're just symptomatic, you can go to one of the urgent care facilities for BayCare, for AdventHealth and Tampa General Hospital."
Castor pointed out that two weeks ago, AdventHealth had 60 people admitted with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19; on Wednesday, that number had ballooned to 214.
The average positivity rate over the past seven days for Hillsborough County is 13.7 percent. In addition, 65.7 percent of Hillsborough County residents ages 5 and older have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County is opening a COVID-19 testing site Thursday at 7150 114th Ave., Largo, to meet additional demand. It will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.
It joins another site at the Center for Health Equity at 2333 34th St S., St. Petersburg, which is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The Largo site will be closed this Friday and Saturday for the New Year's holiday, while the St. Petersburg site will be closed Friday through Sunday.
No appointments will be necessary at any of these sites.
For more information on other sites around the greater Tampa Bay region, click here.
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