'Massive' Mahaffey Theater site aims for up to 1,200 COVID-19 tests per day

You don’t need an appointment, you don’t need to show symptoms, and you don’t need to be a Pinellas County resident to get tested at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg.

“We wanted to bring the access to the population that is most concerned right now,” Pinellas County commissioner Charlie Justice explained.

From Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., anyone wanting to get tested for COVID-19 can do so there, for free.

“This is a massive site; more testing, more staffing available. We want people to take advantage of it, it’s really important. Hopefully the supply will meet the demand,” Justice continued.

Overnight, Pinellas County added 363 coronavirus cases. Justice says southeast Pinellas has seen a significant spike in cases. 

The Mahaffey site opened about a week after the Tropicana Field site, which was testing anywhere from 300 to 500 people a day, but got criticism from Mayor Rick Kriseman after repeatedly running out of tests. But the commissioner insists, this site opening had nothing to do with the Tropicana Field site.

“We’ve been working with the state to get a site like this for quite a while,” Justice continued. “Ever since Raymond James [Stadium’s testing site] opened, we’ve been trying to get a similar site in Pinellas. With the numbers looking like they are, the state finally responded, and we’re very appreciative for that.”

Expecting to test anywhere from 1,000 to 1,200 people a day, Justice believes with the state’s assistance, they won’t run out of supplies.

“If we see the first day or so, we’ll have to make some adjustments, but we expect to have the supply to meet the demand,” he added.

These test kits are not rapid tests. The county says expect your results in two to three days.