Testing site at Raymond James Stadium will open Wednesday, officials say

After a delay, Hillsborough County said a drive-thru coronavirus testing site would be opening at Raymond James Stadium on Wednesday now that the necessary amount of medical supplies have arrived.

The site was initially scheduled to open over the weekend, but it was postponed as the county tried to gather enough face masks, gowns, gloves, and other protective gear to protect the healthcare providers.

The drive-through testing site will be open Wednesday through Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., or while supplies last. The site is in the parking lot south of the stadium bordered by Tom McEwen Blvd. on the north, Dale Mabry Hwy. to the west, and Himes Ave. to the east. Vehicles should enter from Dale Mabry Hwy. or Himes Ave. and look for signs.

Currently, the county has at least 900 kits to test patients. Officials expect to administer 200 tests per day.

BayCare said they've tested about 3,000 people since they opened up their drive-thru testing sites last week.

The site will be the first large-scale collection site in the county. But it will only be available to those who have been pre-screened for symptoms.

How it will work: 

Residents who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms can begin calling the county's main information line, 813-272-5900, at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, March 24.

Residents will be asked a series of questions about their current medical condition, recent travel history and who they have been in contact with over the past two weeks to determine if a test is needed.

Callers who are determined to require COVID-19 testing will receive a confirmation by email with their scheduled time and date. This must be printed and taken to the drive-thru testing site at Raymond James Stadium.

To qualify, residents must be pre-screened and meet CDC and DOH testing guidelines and must be pre-registered through the call center.

If a resident received a testing confirmation email, they must bring the following with them to the collection site: 

  • Proper ID with name, date of birth and photo (this can be a Florida driver's license, state-issued ID, or passport)
  • Printed confirmation email from the call center

According to Hillsborough County, if a resident cannot print the confirmation email "may be subject to longer wait times." 

Testing will be provided by appointment only.

What to bring: 

You must arrive in a personal vehicle. Due to the increased risk of contamination as well as current shortages of personal protective equipment, walk-ups are not permitted at this time.

Each person to be tested must be seated next to a working window.

Limit vehicle passengers to those needing a test.

Have a photo ID for all persons being tested with name, date of birth and photo (can be Florida driver's license, state-issued ID, or passport).

Bring a printed copy of the testing confirmation email from the Hillsborough County Customer Service Center. Having this form with you will expedite the process. Residents that are unable to print their confirmation number can provide a screen shot on their phone.

You will be asked to provide the following information:
1.    Full name
2.    Current address (where you are staying)
3.    Best phone number to reach you in order to receive test results

What to expect:

You will be greeted by a health care provider in personal protective gear who will give you instructions.

You will be given a tissue to blow your nose. You will need to keep the tissue to dispose on your own.

A soft swab will be inserted deep into your nose to get the necessary sample. This may be slightly uncomfortable, but the test is quick and should take less than a minute.

Test results are not immediate. It may take several days. After the test, you will be given information on what to do while you await the results. You will receive test results via the telephone number you gave at the time of pre-screening.

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 covid-19@flhealth.gov. Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

LINK: Florida's COVID-19 website

CORONAVIRUS IN FLORIDA: What you need to know

AROUND THE WORLD: CoronavirusNOW.com

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