Report: Hillsborough Co. using less than a third of its testing capacity for coronavirus

County tests 29% of its capacity, between four healthcare systems
Posted at 11:43 AM, May 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-04 17:52:13-04

A new report shows Hillsborough County is utilizing less than a third of its testing capacity for coronavirus.

The report will be presented to the Emergency Policy Group at its bi-weekly meeting Monday at 1:30 p.m.

The data shows between Tampa General Hospital, Baycare Health Care Systems, AdventHealth, Hospitals Corporation of America (HCA), Tampa Family Health Centers, Suncoast Community Health Center and the Raymond James Stadium testing site, they are hitting only 29% of total testing capacity.

The data goes through April 23 and does not include three new popup testing sites at the Lee Davis Community Resource Center, the Plant City Community Resource Center and the SouthShore Community Resource Center in Ruskin.

Between all four healthcare systems, they are averaging 840 tests per day, with a daily capacity of 2,500.

At their biggest satellite collection site, the Raymond James Stadium site, they are testing an average of 311 patients per day with a near double capacity of 600.

The testing target is a minimum of 2,250 tests a day. The current daily tests are 1,151. This means the county is reaching half of its testing goal.

The data shows out of all the patients tested an overwhelming amount of them, 88%, are testing negative for COVID-19. Only 4% are coming back positive. This data does not include any of the figures from the satellite testing sites including the prime Raymond James site. Between all providers, the report shows there have been 26,764 tests through April 23.

The county has already implemented new strategies to increase testing. In an effort to improve testing numbers, the county opened up three new community collection sites as of late April. Hillsborough County is also offering mobile testing, where health care workers drive to you, for those that are home-bound or have transportation issues. You can also do walk-up testing at any of the sites with an appointment.

In a major reversal last week, the county eased restrictions allowing anyone to get tested for coronavirus regardless of showing symptoms or not. This has, undoubtedly, increased the testing numbers not yet reflected in this data. According to the county, the number of people tested doubled in the first day of lifting this restriction. The percent of positive cases also increased to 6%.

The county is also targeting vulnerable populations for testing such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

The lifting of the governor's safer-at-home order Monday will also play into increased testing. The report indicates with elective surgeries resuming the number of people tested will go up but at the same time will increase demand for "the same scarce Health Care Systems' resources."

Recently, the state allowed pharmacists to test people for COVID-19. The report shows we will likely see an increase of testing thanks to this allowance at local and big-chain pharmacies like Walgreens, CVS and Walmart.

The EPG is set to get weekly testing data every Thursday. The county has test kits and PPE more available to support the testing needs, according to the report.