Hillsborough County opens new drive-thru COVID-19 testing site in Brandon

Hillsborough County is opening a new drive-thru site for COVID-19 testing.

 It will operate daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Hillsborough Community College campus in Brandon, located at 10451 Nancy Watkins Drive. The entrance is off East Columbus Drive. Visitors will not be able to access the testing site by using Nancy Watkins Drive. No appointment is necessary. 

With this new site opening Monday, people now have five options to choose from in the county. 

"We try to look at the geographical locations and try to centralize those sites so that we can reach the most of the population within the county," said Katja Miller, Human Services and Mass Care Coordinator for Hillsborough County Emergency Management. "We have seen that high demand and needing to open up more sites really as every wave has come in. And that's what the county does. We're trying to provide the best service and for the community."

Wait times at the new site were up to two hours for much of the day.

The county also operates two walk-up locations. Both operate from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

  • Progress Village: 8701 Progress Blvd., Tampa, FL 33619. No appointments are needed.
  • West Tampa Community Resource Center: 2103 N. Rome Ave., Tampa, FL 33607. The site also offers COVID-19 vaccinations, Pfizer pediatric vaccines, booster shots for those who are eligible, and monoclonal antibody therapy treatment. Residents wanting monoclonal antibody therapy treatment must make an appointment. Residents can make an appointment at patientportalfl.com.

The COVID-19 test site at HCC Brandon opened on January 10, 2022.

Children ages 5 to 11 who are accompanied by their parent or legal guardian can receive the COVID-19 Pfizer pediatric vaccine at the West Tampa Community Resource Center site. The child must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian to verbally confirm the child's age.  

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For all services, proof of medical insurance is recommended and should be presented at the time of the visit. People without medical insurance will still be tested, vaccinated, or receive monoclonal antibody therapy treatment for free.

Recently, Florida's Surgeon General began recommending people only get tested if they're symptomatic, which goes against the CDC's guidance. Miller, however, said they're seeing plenty of symptomatic and asymptomatic patients.

"We're seeing a mixture of folks coming to the sites, whether they have symptoms and they're worried about being positive," she said. "We are seeing folks that are requiring the test because of travel or from work, or maybe those that have just been exposed and they may not have symptoms, but they're worried about being positive."

RELATED: Hospitals see spike in pediatric COVID-19 cases

The city of Tampa runs two COVID-19 test sites. Both are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

  • Al Lopez Park: 4602 North Himes Avenue in Tampa. This is a walk-up site.
  • Al Barnes Park: 3101 East 21st Avenue in Tampa. This is a drive-through site.

On Sunday, wait times exceeded an hour at Al Lopez Park. Officials hope the new site in Brandon will help alleviate some long lines. 

"I think it is a good thing because people with this Omicron crisis, people want to get tested," said Prisanth Raviramen, who received a COVID-19 test, "and I think it’s a good thing to get tested, so I’m happy for that."

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