Beginning Thursday, Dec. 30, Hillsborough County’s Progress Village Park site, 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. However, it will be closed Friday, Dec. 31, and Saturday, Jan. 1, for the New Year’s holiday.
COVID-19 testing is free, but proof of medical insurance is recommended and should be presented at the time of the COVID-19 test. People without medical insurance will still be tested for free.
Hillsborough County is also opening two temporary testing sites to help meet demand over the holiday weekend. The Lee Davis Community Resource Center, located at 3402 N. 22nd St. in Tampa, and the Plant City Community Resource Center, located at 307 N. Michigan Ave. in Plant City, will be open 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. on Dec. 31- Jan. 2.
Each site will have a limited supply of 1,000 tests per day and are meant for residents who are showing symptoms or have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. The county acknowledges that the limited supply will likely run out daily and encourages residents to check the Hillsborough County social media pages for announcements regarding testing availability.
The city of Tampa, in conjunction with the Florida Department of Health, is also reopening a testing site at Al Lopez Park on Friday, December 31. It will be open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. until further notice and will be open on New Year’s Day. 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.
The Al Lopez Testing Site will offer testing only. People looking to get a COVID-19 vaccine can get one at the Hillsborough County’s West Tampa Community Resource Center, located at 2103 N. Rome Ave., Tampa, FL 33607.
It is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week for COVID-19 testing, vaccinations and booster shots, and monoclonal antibody therapy. The West Tampa Community Resource Center site also will be closed Friday, Dec. 31, and Saturday, Jan. 1, for the New Year’s holiday.
The city of Tampa is also reopening the COVID-19 drive-thru testing site at Al Barnes Park, located at 2902 N 32nd St., on Jan. 4. The site will be open 7 a.m.- 7 p.m., seven days a week.
Pinellas County is opening a new testing site at 7150 114th Ave. in Largo on Thursday, Dec. 30. It will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week. However, it will be closed Friday, Dec. 31 and Saturday, Jan, 1 for the New Year holiday, and will resume normal operations on Sunday, Jan. 2.
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. This location will be closed Friday, Dec. 31 for the New Year holiday, and will resume normal operations on Monday, Jan. 3.
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.
Hillsborough County and the Bay Area are currently listed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as a substantial risk. Health experts are recommending residents, even those who are fully vaccinated, wear a mask in indoor public places and in crowded outdoor settings.
Health experts also recommend staying home and not attending gatherings if:
- You were exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19.
- You have symptoms associated with COVID-19: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
People with weakened immune systems are not fully protected even if they are vaccinated. They should continue to take all recommended Infection Prevention precautions, including wearing a well-fitted mask.
According to the city of Tampa, the average positivity rate over the past seven days for Hillsborough County is 13.7 percent.
Two weeks ago, Hillsborough's site was testing around 500 people a day. By Tuesday, it was just under 2,971.
One month ago, on November 29, there were just under 1,700 cases reported in Florida and by Tuesday, the number was just under 47,000.
The hope is that more tests will help those who are sick know when to quarantine.
"The best way to avoid contracting COVID 19 or getting very ill from it is to be vaccinated and boosted," said Mayor Jane Castor. "We have sung this song for two years. A lot of people have been vaccinated or boosted, but a lot of people just are not hearing the words to that song."
Currently, 65.7 percent of Hillsborough County residents ages five and older have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Hillsborough County’s COVID-19 dashboard.
The mayor also announced today that workers and residents who visit city buildings will be required to wear a mask. Anyone who refuses will be helped by staff outside.