TAMPA, Fla. — BayCare Health Systems' drive-thru testing at three locations will start open an hour earlier starting Monday, April 27.
The drive-thru testing for COVID-19 began at several Tampa Bay locations on March 17. There were originally seven locations, but several locations were closed due to available resources.
“This will allow us to test more people more efficiently and safely,” Dr. Nishant Anand, MD, chief medical officer at BayCare, said. “As state and federal authorities make more testing supplies available, our capacity can increase. BayCare is committed to maximizing what tools we have to serve our communities and we hope to see this concept expand in the future.”
Since March 18, BayCare says it's screened nearly 14,0000 people.
“We do not want to use up all of the testing capabilities for screenings here and not be able to screen our most critical patients in the hospitals," he said.
Dr. Waldrep says you do not need to have a doctors note, but will need to meet the testing criteria regardless.
“If they have a doctors note and they meet criteria they will be screened. If they do not have a doctors note and they meet the criteria they will be screened," he said.
BayCare officials says they "prefer that that people have been referred by a physician," before showing up at the testing sites.
That criteria includes:
- You must in the past 14 days have had a fever or a cough and shortness of breath
- You must have been exposed to somebody with a known COVID-19 exposure
- You must have traveled internationally or traveled from California, Washington state, Oregon and New York
- Have an immune compromised condition.
- Be over the age of 65 with serious chronic health conditions (cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc.)
That criteria has bent ever so slightly as more tests have been made available and the disease is considered community spread in Florida.
The following testing sites will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 11 a.m.:
- BayCare Urgent Care | 900 Carillon Parkway, Suite 106, St. Petersburg, 33716
- Gulf High School | 5355 School Road, New Port Richey, 34652
The following testing sites will be open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8 a.m. until 11 a.m.:
- Bartow Regional Medical Center | 2200 Osprey Blvd, Bartow, 33830 (Testing site is located behind the hospital)
BayCare is also helping the City of Tampa and Hillsborough County testing site at Raymond James Tuesday, April 28 and Friday, May 1. It's open from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on those days, according to a press release.
Step one includes answering a series of criteria questions. Step two is where you present your ID and paperwork and step three is when health officials take a swab and sample and send you on your way.
BayCare says results for patients who have already visited the drive-thru sites are beginning to come back, but not as quickly as anticipated. Originally it was expected to take five days to receive results, but BayCare says that has increased by several days.