More COVID test sites opening, new guidelines coming

Covid testing
Posted at 6:22 PM, Jan 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-04 18:31:20-05

TAMPA, Fla. — On Tuesday, there were long lines at two COVID testing sites in Tampa. The drive-up location at Al Barnes Park that just opened, and the Al Lopez park testing site that has reopened.

The city says testing at both places may close early on some days because of high demand to make sure they can fit everyone in before closing at 7 p.m.

Florida’s surgeon general is saying new guidelines in our state will focus on testing only those where testing is more likely to change outcomes based on risk levels.

RELATED: LIST: Where can I get tested for COVID-19 in the Tampa Bay area?

“We are not telling people that you can’t get tested. We are not restricting access. But we are saying that we don’t think it’s sensible that people who are unlikely to benefit, unlikely to have any change in their clinical outcome to be in line waiting to get tested. That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me,” said Dr. Jospeh Ladapo.

Meanwhile, Governor Ron DeSantis is claiming the federal government is not delivering on millions of at-home tests he says they promised.

He also said the federal government is only sending 12,000 doses of monoclonal antibody treatment. The state asked for 40,000.

“We would have additional sites up immediately in the three South Florida counties that have the highest prevalence. We’d have one here in Jacksonville, Central Florida, other parts of the Tampa Bay area, Southwest Florida. We’d be able to do that very quickly. We are ready. We’ve prepared. But they are not sending us the doses,” said DeSantis.

USF Professor Dr. Jay Wolfson says the good news continues to be that while the omicron variant is easier to get, it appears most are less likely to get sick.

“What we are seeing more and more is that this is going to become something much more like the flu that we’ve had every year. Or even go down into becoming the common cold type of thing. We will know more about that certainly over the next several months. In the meantime, it’s wise to take precautions, especially if you have precursor conditions,” said Wolfson.

If you do want to get tested officials recommend pre-registering, although no appointment is needed.