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No COVID-19 tests available for kids and young teens at Tampa’s big pharmacies

8 On Your Side
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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — There’s mounting frustration in the Tampa Bay area as many residents say it’s not fast or easy to get a coronavirus test.

Florida has seen an explosion in coronavirus cases over the past two weeks. Because of that, the demand for testing is through the roof.

For Jeremiah Arroyo, it finally happened. The Pasco County resident says someone at this job tested positive.

“I’m very frustrated,” Jeremiah Arroyo said. “They give us 1-800 numbers.”

Arroyo says he can’t get a COVID-19 test. And without one, he can’t go back to work. He’s not alone.

“There’s four of us right now looking to try to get a test so we can return to work and we haven’t been able to reach anybody,” he said.

The fact is, months into the COVID-19 crisis, a lot of people are finding that getting tested for coronavirus isn’t as easy or convenient as it’s supposed to be.

It wasn’t easy for Carrie Singh either. It took days of phone calls and bureaucratic runaround for Singh and her husband to finally secure tests for their family of four.

But Singh’s got an advantage that most people don’t have.

“I’m an oncology nurse,” she said.

She knows the system.

Singh says it shouldn’t be this hard for adults to find a test. The situation is even bleaker for kids and teens. She’s reached out to local and state officials about her concerns.

“If it was this hard for us as medical professionals to find testing for our kids, I can’t imagine what it’s like for people that don’t maybe speak English,” she said.

8 On Your Side found that the Tampa Bay area’s two biggest drug store chains, CVS and Walgreens, don’t test anyone under 18.

CVS sent the following statement:

“COVID-19 testing is available to eligible individuals meeting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state-specific criteria, in addition to age guidelines.”

Right now, there’s a debate about how effective children are art spreading this virus.

Meanwhile, public health officials say without widespread testing, we will not be able to stop the spread of COVID-19.

If you are having problems getting tested, send an email to investigative reporter Mahsa Saeidi at MSaeidi@WFLA.com

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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