Sarasota community gets walk-up, less-invasive testing for all ages

Everyone, even children, is invited to walk up and get tested for COVID-19 at the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex in the Newtown community of Sarasota.

You can drive up in your car, ride up on a bike, or just walk. 

"Many of the individuals that live in our minority community are elderly, disabled, and many can’t drive to these various testing sites," said the president of the NAACP's Sarasota County Chapter Trevor Harvey. 

Harvey was concerned Newtown community residents would be overlooked during the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

"The more we can get communities like ours tested, the better we are able to be pro-active and make sure we get the appropriate treatment," he said. 

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Harvey, along with Rep. Wengay Newton (D-District 70) voiced their concerns to Governor Ron DeSantis two weeks ago when he visited the state-run, drive-up testing site at the Mall at University Town Center. 

The result is the new, all-ages, walk-up testing site. 

"Go get tested and know where you’re at. You could be asymptotic and exposing your whole family to it. Every time you go out and come in you bring what you’ve been exposed to in the house," said Rep. Newton. 

Children can be tested with their parent's permission. The test is less invasive than most, officials said.

"We aren’t swabbing the back of the throat. We aren’t going far up into the sinus cavity. We are just going up into the tip of the nostril and so we are able to do pediatrics, as well," said Wayne Balcom, the incident commander for the site. 

Results are expected to come back within five days. Residents are urged to use the site because knowing your status can help save lives. 

"We want this to take place, we need this to take place to make it better for the quality of life and the health of our community," said Sarasota city commissioner Willie Shaw. 

The state testing site is expected to be open for two weeks. They open daily at 9 a.m. and closes at 6 p.m., or whenever they meet their capacity of 200 tests.
The site is located at the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex at 1845 34th St, Sarasota, FL.

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 Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

LINK: Florida's COVID-19 website

CORONAVIRUS IN FLORIDA: What you need to know


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