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As demand spikes, new COVID-19 testing sites open across Tampa Bay

Hillsborough, Tampa & Pinellas open new test sites
COVID-19 tests
Posted at 12:10 PM, Dec 29, 2021
and last updated 2022-01-04 07:24:29-05

TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa is reopening a free COVID-19 testing location in West Tampa, while Hillsborough County opened a new site at the Progress Village Park on Thursday.

The City of Tampa is reopening the Al Lopez Park COVID-19 testing location in West Tampa.

The announcement came shortly after Hillsborough County announced it was opening a new site as COVID-19 cases continue to surge.

The Al Lopez Park testing site will reopen Friday, December 31 and be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. The testing site will offer both the PCR and the Rapid Antigen tests.

While specific appointment times will not be available at this walk-up site, residents can pre-register their contact information to receive their test results. 

The Al Lopez Park testing site will offer testing only. People looking to get a COVID-19 vaccine can get one at the West Tampa Community Resource Center (2103 N. Rome Ave., Tampa, FL 33607), operated by Hillsborough County.

The new site provided by the county is at the Progress Village Park site at 8701 Progress Blvd., Tampa, FL 33619. Starting Thursday, December 30, the site will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week for county residents to get tested. No appointments are required.

That site will be closed on Friday, December 31 and Saturday, January 1 for the New Year's holiday.

On its opening day, the Progress Village Park site saw long lines with wait times up to three hours while people waited for a COVID-19 test. The site reached capacity about three hours before it was set to close for the day on Thursday.

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

The county has another testing location at the West Tampa Community Resource Center, 2103 N. Rome Ave., Tampa, FL 33607. It's also open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week. This location provides COVID testing, vaccinations, booster shots, and monoclonal antibody treatments. The Rome Avenue location will also be closed on Friday, December 31 and Saturday, January 1.

Hillsborough County says between 2,000 and 3,000 COVID-19 tests have been administered at the West Tampa test site every day this week as demand for testing has grown.

"We follow trends. We follow the numbers, so as things scale up, with positive and supportive leadership, we are able to scale up. If we need to scale down, we scale down. It just depends on what happens next," said Kesley Richardson, a healthcare coordinator with the Hillsborough County Office of Emergency Management.

The county will open two new temporary testing sites to operate over the holiday weekend. The Lee Davis Community Resource Center in Tampa and Plant City Community Resource Center in Plant City will be open for testing Friday, December 31 through Sunday, January 2 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Pinellas County also announced plans to open a new testing site of its own in Largo. The location at 7150 114th Avenue will remain open for testing from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

COVID-19 testing is free. Proof of medical insurance is recommended and should be presented at the time of the COVID-19 test. People without medical insurance will still be tested for free

The City of Tampa is also reopening the COVID-19 testing site at Al Barnes Park (2902 N 32nd St, Tampa, FL 33605) on Tuesday, January 4 due to the increased demand for tests.

Al Barnes Park will operate as a drive-through testing site. People will be able to access the testing site by driving east on 21st Avenue, turning right and driving south on N. 32nd Street and turning right again onto E. 18th Avenue, where there will be a dedicated lane to enter the park.

Both the Al Lopez and Al Barnes testing sites will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and run seven days a week. Both sites will also offer the PCR and the Rapid Antigen tests.