Hillsborough, Pinellas counties open new COVID-19 test sites after increased demand

COVID-19 test site in Hillsborough County
Posted at 11:32 PM, Aug 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-09 05:16:11-04

It’s been a busy weekend for COVID-19 test sites across the Tampa Bay area as demand for testing spikes yet again.

Hillsborough County opened two new sites this weekend, and demand ended up being double what they expected at each of those.

The two new sites are at the Palm River Park Community Center, 725 S. 58th St. in Tampa, and the Hillsborough County Code Enforcement Complex, 1101 E. 139th Ave. in Tampa.

Both sites are open seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The sites are walk-up sites, no appointments necessary, and they’re free of charge. They’re also offering both rapid and PCR tests.

The county planned to administer 1,000 tests daily between the two sites, but Saturday, they say they administered more than 2,000 tests, and Sunday, more than 1,600.

“We will continue to check our numbers and see what the demand is, and then we’ll base decisions off of that, whether we need to open more sites,” said Katja Miller with Hillsborough County Emergency Management.

Starting Monday over in Pinellas County, they’re opening up a new site too. The site will open at the Center for Health Equity in St. Pete, 2333 34th St. S., St. Petersburg. It’s also open seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The site is free of charge, and no appointment is needed.

CDR Maguire will operate the site in Pinellas County.

Public health experts are urging anyone exposed to COVID-19, or anyone feeling under the weather, to get tested.

“If you come in contact with someone who is known to have been infected, go get yourself tested a day or two later to make sure that you’re not infectious,” said Dr. Thomas Unnasch, Distinguished Professor at USF Health.

That’s a recommendation Dr. Unnasch has for people, whether vaccinated or not.

“The real reason it matters to you is that we’re in real danger here, with the unvaccinated people, of overloading the healthcare system,” said Dr. Unnasch.

In addition to the county sites, tests are offered at urgent cares, Walgreens locations, and CVS locations.

In a statement from CVS, they say:

“Daily COVID-19 testing volume is currently running ahead of average daily volume year-to-date, and significantly ahead of average daily volume in the second quarter. COVID-19 home test kits are the top-selling item in our stores.
We currently offer rapid and/or PCR testing at nearly 5,000 locations, and have ample capacity to handle increased demand.”
CVS Spokesperson

For a full list of testing locations in Tampa Bay, click here.

For a list of vaccination sites in Tampa Bay, click here.