TAMPA, Fla. - The Hillsborough County Emergency Policy met Monday after Governor DeSantis made an appearance at Tampa General Hospital to urge all residents to get tested for COVID-19.
The Hillsborough County EPG said anyone can get tested for the virus -- even if you are not sick and don't have symptoms or risk factors, and you don’t have to have a recommendation from a doctor. However, the Hillsborough County Florida Department of Health website still says "Hillsborough County is doing limited drive-thru testing" by appointment only and only for those who "feel unwell" or think they "were exposed to the virus."
The county's website says to call 813-272-5900 Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to schedule an appointment for a free COVID-19 test. The website says appointments are being made for seven testing locations, which have varying and limited hours and days of operation.
-Raymond James Stadium, April 28, 8 a.m. - 11 a.m. by appointment only
-Lee Davis Community Resource Center (dates, times not listed)
-Plant City Community Resource Center (dates, times not listed)
-SouthShore Community Resource Center (dates, times not listed)
LINK: Get more information at the county's website: https://www.hillsboroughcounty.org/en/residents/public-safety/emergency-management/stay-safe/getting-tested
BayCare is also operating testing sites, separately from the county. Those sites include:
-Gulf High School, Weekdays, 8 a.m. - 11 a.m.
-BayCare Urgent Care (Carillon), Weekdays.
-Bartow Regional, April 27 and 29, May 1, 8 a.m. - 11 a.m.
For information about being tested at these locations, visit https://baycare.org/coronavirus/covid-19-testing-centers.
The governor, as well as local leaders, said Monday there were enough tests for "everyone" who wanted one.
"We have been telling people not to be tested unless they have symptoms to preserve PPE, but now we have PPE, so if you want to come in and be tested, we have many sites, come in and be tested, we are welcoming everyone to do that. That will give us critical data," said Dr. Charles Lockwood of Tampa General Hospital.
County Administrator Les Miller added during the Hillsborough County EPG meeting, "anyone can get tested. When we first started, you have to have certain symptoms and certain questions were asked. Those questions are not being asked anymore. You just call and make your appointment for testing at any of the sites we had."
There are nearly 1.5 million Hillsborough County residents and only about 20,000 have currently been tested for COVID-19. State or county leaders did not say how many tests were now available in Hillsborough County.