TAMPA, Fla. - After running out of COVID-19 tests last week, the drive-through testing at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa begins, again Wednesday at 8 a.m.
Hillsborough County received 1,200 new testing kits. Healthcare workers will test as many pre-screened patients as they can while supplies last. Like last week, residents can't show up to the site without an appointment.
In order to be eligible for testing, residents must call the county's COVID-19 hotline: 813-272-5900. The call center is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Patients will need to bring a printed copy of their confirmation letter and identification.
Those who call will be asked about symptoms, recent travel history, who they've been exposed to and if they have underlying medical conditions. If a caller qualifies for testing, they're given a testing date and time, and issued a confirmation letter.
Last week, the county had 900 testing kits, and appointments filled up in one day. One big change to the testing site this week is the hours. They'll be limited to 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. The heat last week took a toll on healthcare workers wearing personal protective equipment. In order to protect them, the testing windows has been narrowed.
Medical professionals said it's important for everyone to be patient. If you suspect you may be sick, isolate.
"If you feel like you're at risk, the biggest thing is to stay at home and call your healthcare provided to get directions," said Adam Smith, vice president of ambulatory services at Tampa General Hospital. "We really don't want people showing up at doctor's offices or emergency rooms because you're just putting other people at risk."
The tests are available at no charge, but, again, residents will have to call the hotline first to see if they qualify.
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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