TAMPA, Fla. - Long lines, buggy phone appointments: Hillsborough County admits, it’s been frustrating for those trying to make an appointment to get tested for coronavirus.
“Those are very, very valid frustrations, and I am by no means trying to make an excuse for them at all,” said Jon-Paul Lavandeira, who runs operations and logistics for Hillsborough County COVID-19 testing. “But what I can say is that the county has made a few changes very recently to go ahead and address that.”
Those changes are going live this week. A COVID hotline dedicated solely to appointment-making (888-513-6321), along with an online portal beginning Thursday, should allow you to make an appointment in minutes.
“They can log in and select the location, date, and time,” said Lavandeira.
LINK: Online appointments can be made at hcflgov.net/covidtesting
But what happens if the problem arises, after the test?
For Tampa resident Steve Foxx, that’s the problem. He’s been tested twice, and still hasn’t received the results.
Foxx was first tested at Advent Health. Instead of receiving just results, he received a letter saying his results were negative, but that the lab wasn’t confident in them.
On June 12, he was tested a second time a Raymond James Stadium. Nearly two weeks have gone by without him knowing if he’s positive or negative.
“They gave me some paperwork saying Quest Diagnostics was going to do the results, gave me information to set up access to their website. I was already set up for Quest for previous testing, and even today, we’ve checked that site almost daily,” he said. “While I can see results of other tests Quest has done, we still see no results on this.”
In a release pushed out Thursday, Quest Diagnostics boasts of their ability to perform 110,000 COVID-19 tests per day.
FOX 13 spoke to Quest over the phone Thursday, and they said they would attempt to track down Steve Foxx’s results.
He says the testing numbers don’t mean much to him if others like him can’t receive results.
“To me, it doesn’t give the public satisfaction,” he said. “We need to hear the results so we can have confidence of knowing we’ve got it or we don’t have it, and what impact that might have on our relationships and our families.”
Foxx plans to get tested again Friday at a local CVS Pharmacy. He’s hoping the third time is a charm.
If you feel sick:
The Florida Department of Health has a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Email responses will be sent during call center hours.
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