Frustration growing as Tampa Bay area residents struggle to find Covid-19 testing

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Frustration is growing as people struggle to find Covid-19 testing in the Tampa Bay area.

Many are spending hours waiting to get swabbed as cars lined multiple blocks at the Al Barnes Park testing site Wednesday.

The City of Tampa reported more than 4 hour wait times at Al Barnes Park Wednesday, and 40 minute wait times at the Al Lopez Park testing site.

“It’s been quite a while, almost four hours, people cutting in line and everything. It’s been pretty crazy today,” said Ashley Benefield, who drove from Plant City to the Al Barnes Park site.

“The at-home tests that you buy, jobs don’t recognize that as a valid test, my job doesn’t,” Justin Stevens said. “I have to go to an actual facility to get tested before I can go back to work.”

The demand for testing is high across the state, leaving testing facilities overwhelmed.

“I tried to get an at-home test, I tried Walgreens, CVS, I tried standing in the line but it’s like a 3-hour wait around buildings,” said Benefield, who was frustrated with the lack of testing options. “There’s nothing, nothing available right now. So if you’re looking, nothing is available.”

8 On Your Side checked with several local pharmacies, the first appointments available are next week.

Some stores have rapid testing kits available but are limiting how many a person can buy.

8 On Your Side also found that supplies are selling out daily.

“I think they need to open more places to go to. I really do, because I’m from Plant City and I drove all the way over here just to get tested. So it’s really crazy. They need to open up a lot more places and have a lot more people doing them,” said Benefield.