Hillsborough County reopening COVID-19 testing sites, will other Tampa Bay counties follow?

8 On Your Side

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Those big county-run COVID-19 testing sites we saw earlier in the coronavirus pandemic could soon reopen in parts of the Tampa Bay area.

Hillsborough County announced Tuesday night it would temporarily reopen two walk-in testing sites starting Saturday, Aug. 7. The sites at Palm River Park Community Center at 725 South 58th Street in Tampa and at 1101 East 139th Avenue in Tampa will be open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A total of 500 tests will be available per day at each site and will be offered on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The reopening announcement comes after some Tampa Bay area physicians called on state and county leaders to bring back the massive testing sites as more Floridians seek out tests due to the delta variant spiking.

“We are seeing a record number of patients,” said Dr. Nicole Frommann, a medical director at TGH Urgent Care Powered by Fast Track. “It’s a little out of control.”

Last year, many of us were getting swabbed at government sites like Raymond James Stadium, Tropicana Field and University Mall. Now it’s a private affair with most COVID testing happening at doctor’s offices, clinics and pharmacies.

But is it time for the mass sites to reopen and bring back fast, free and no-appointment testing?

“I think they should. I think it’s important because that way it’s easier, it’s faster,” one Tampa Bay resident said.

8 On Your Side’s Mahsa Saeidi asked Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday if he would reconsider opening mass COVID-19 sites.

“So what we did, we transitioned all of this to the local governments. They’ve gotten huge amounts of money from CARES Act,” the governor said. “Our view is this is so available throughout society right now.”

If you’re having issues getting a COVID-19 test in a timely manner, please email 8 On Your Side Investigator Mahsa Saeidi at MSaeidi@WFLA.com.

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