Another COVID-19 testing site opens in Tampa to ease long lines, demand

The city of Tampa opened a new COVID-19 testing site.

The new drive-up testing site is at Al Barnes Park, located at 2902 N 32nd Street. It will be open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and will offer both PCR and rapid antigen tests. 

The walk-up testing site at Al Lopez Park is also open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. until further notice. The testing site will offer both the PCR and the Rapid Antigen tests.  

Those getting tested will enter on the north side of Al Lopez Park, pull into the parking lot, and then walk up to the HUNT Center to complete the test. While specific appointment times will not be available on this walk-up site, residents can pre-register their contact information with the city of Tampa to receive their test results. 

READ: Fla. surgeon general, governor question federal government's COVID testing approach

Elsewhere in Hillsborough County, officials opened a testing site at Progress Village Park -- which is located at 8701 Progress Blvd., Tampa, FL 33619 -- will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week for residents who want a COVID test.

Pinellas County opened a testing site at 7150 114th Avenue. It will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week.  The new site joins the one currently operating at the Center for Health Equity in St. Petersburg, which offers testing from Monday through Friday from
9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. 

Both rapid and PCR tests for COVID-19 are offered for free at the Pinellas County locations. Proof of medical insurance is recommended and should be presented at the time of the test. Those without medical insurance will still be tested at no cost.

MORE: DeSantis calls on Biden administration to allow states to purchase monoclonal antibody treatments

As pop-up sites for testing appear in the Bay Area, Gov. Ron DeSantis said he isn't fully on board with the increased testing efforts, as he says testing needs to be more targeted

At a news conference with the Florida Surgeon General on Monday, Desantis said it’s not as necessary to test those likely to survive a case of omicron as it would be to test someone in a more high-risk category.

They argued there’s a difference between low-value and high-value testing, adding that low-value testers -- those who are testing without symptoms or who may be in a low-risk category -- are crowding the system for those who need test results right away.

They say they plan to soon issue a directive to alter the state's guidance on who needs to be tested.