HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — Hillsborough County opened a new COVID-19 testing location Monday as demand for tests soar in the Tampa Bay area.
Beginning Monday, Jan. 10, the Hillsborough Community College Brandon campus site, located at 10451 Nancy Watkins Dr., Tampa, FL 33619, will open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily for residents who want free COVID-19 testing. This is a drive-thru site, and no appointments are needed.
On its first day open, the new site reached capacity by about 2:00 p.m.
“We’ve really been seeing the demand at our other two sites, Progress Village and West Tampa, so to really continue to alleviate that pressure off of the private agencies and try to really spread the wealth across the county for the service, we’ve decided to open up another site," said Katja Miller, the Human Services and Mass Care coordinator for Hillsborough County Emergency Management.
County officials said wait times at the new site reached about three hours at one point.
The entrance for the Hillsborough Community College Brandon campus COVID-19 testing site is off East Columbus Drive. Visitors will not be able to access the testing site by using Nancy Watkins Drive. Only the East Columbus Drive entrance offers access to the testing site.
This is one of three sites that Hillsborough County has opened that offers COVID-19 testing.
To minimize traffic congestion before the sites open and to be mindful of residents living in the neighborhoods, the Hillsborough County Office of Emergency Management asks the public not to arrive at the County COVID-19 testing sites before the sites open at 9 a.m. Staff at each county site will open the entrance gate at 9 a.m. and begin to see guests at that time.
Miller explained how they evaluate the demand through the day and make adjustments to stay open or close for capacity.
“We can assess that and kind of count how many cars it takes to get through with the wait time that we’re seeing, so we may cut it off at that point just so we know that the rest can get through with that stop time, but it also hasn’t been uncommon for us to go past our close time just because we’re trying to service as many people as possible," said Miller.
Residents can also get tested for COVID-19 at Progress Village Park, 8701 Progress Blvd., Tampa, FL 33619. This is a walk-up COVID-19 testing site open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. No appointments are needed.
Additionally, West Tampa Community Resource Center, 2103 N. Rome Ave., Tampa, FL 33607, remains open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. It is a walk-up site that offers free COVID-19 testing, vaccinations, Pfizer pediatric vaccines, booster shots for those who are eligible, and monoclonal antibody therapy treatment.
At the West Tampa Community Resource Center site, no appointments are needed for most of the services. Residents wanting monoclonal antibody therapy treatment must make an appointment. Residents can make an appointment at patientportalfl.com.
As of 3:30 p.m. on Monday, Hillsborough County officials said about 1,300 tests were administered at the HCC Brandon site, about 1,600 tests at Progress Village Park, and about 1,500 tests at the West Tampa site.