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COVID-19 tests hard to get in some Tampa Bay counties

Coronavirus

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Viewers in some Tampa Bay area counties say they’re having a difficult time getting a free coronavirus test. 8 On Your Side is helping them maneuver these testing deserts.

“Due to the pandemic, my wife lost her job,” said Gary Hays. “We’re living off only our social security and we cannot afford to go out there paying for these tests ourselves.”

Hays has struggled to find a free coronavirus test. The retiree has no active symptoms and he says, that’s severely narrowed his options.

A negative test result would ease his mind.

“I have been exposed to someone who had a relative die from it so I’m concerned,” said Hays.

8 On Your Side has heard complaints about a lack of free coronavirus testing in three Tampa Bay area counties: Citrus, Hernando and Pasco.

We contacted local Department of Health offices to get you answers. Here’s the latest information as of Tuesday night:

Hernando County

In Hernando County, the Department of Health has 65 free coronavirus tests daily by appointment only.

Location: 7551 Forest Oaks Blvd in Spring Hill

  • Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • Appointment only
  • Call (352) 540-6800, select option 7

Citrus County

You don’t need an appointment in Citrus County, but testing at the Citrus Springs Community Center is done by 10 a.m. According to the DOH website, the results will take seven to 10 days.

Location: 1570 W. Citrus Springs Blvd in Citrus Springs

  • Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. OR until they hit 150 tests
  • No appointment necessary
  • It generally takes approximately 7 to 10 days to receive laboratory results.

Pasco County

It’s unclear how long people are waiting for results in Pasco County. But at the Gulf High School site, you need to have symptoms to get that free test.

Location: 5355 School Road in New Port Richey

  • Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.
  • Call 1-800-229-2273
  • Be prepared to answer screening questions

Florida’s Division of Emergency Management has more information about state-supported test sites on its website.

If you have a problem or a tip, email investigator Mahsa Saeidi at MSaeidi@WFLA.com

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