SARASOTA, Fla. - The newest testing location in Sarasota has administered 1,359 tests since opening Sunday. The site at the University Town Center opened up Sunday after Governor Ron DeSantis said more testing needed to be done in Sarasota and Manatee counties. It's the 12th state-supported drive-through testing site.
The University Town Center testing site is one of the five new sites Desantis announced last week would be popping up to be run by the National Guard in counties where more testing needed to be done. During his visit Tuesday morning to the site, DeSantis said a mobile testing lab will be coming, saying it will also provide antibody testing.
“If you look at the numbers of Sarasota and Manatee, there hasn’t been a lot of young people who have been tested. This will allow for that...the antibody tests will be deployed at these sites," he said, adding there will be 200,000 tests that will be distributed to hospitals and drive-through sites.
DeSantis also announced drive-through sites will be opening at stores like Walmart and Walgreens.
Both Sarasota and Manatee counties have lower numbers of confirmed cases than places like Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. Manatee County only has about 600 confirmed cases as opposed to Hillsborough County’s 1,300 confirmed cases, based on Monday's statistics from the Florida Department of Health.
Gov. DeSantis speaks about COVID-19 at a Sarasota testing site.
However, in Manatee County, the percentage of people testing positive is much higher than neighboring Bay Area counties.
The age of the average COVID-19 patient is also higher in Manatee County at 62 years old for the average patient. Sarasota and Manatee counties have seen many deaths and outbreaks in their nursing homes with three of their long-term care facilities listed in the top 10 in the state for the most COVID-19 deaths at a care facility.
Those figures are a reason Desantis called for more testing, he said, encouraging people to come out and get tested at the new site.
It is free to get tested at the University Town Center location. Potential patients don’t have to make an appointment or have a prescription, but you will need to bring your driver’s license and health insurance card if you have one.
You can watch the governor's full press conference below:
If you feel sick:
The Florida Department of Health has opened 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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