ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — The coronavirus testing site that opened at Tropicana Field Monday morning started turning people away just about an hour after opening.
Cars lined up more than an hour before the site opened. By 8 a.m., no more cars were allowed to join the line.
The site, which is run by BayCare Health in collaboration with the county and the city, will process 600 tests on Monday.
It’s open Monday through Thursday this week from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. It’s closed Friday, July 3 in observance of Independence Day. In subsequent weeks, it will operate Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.
“Working together within our local community is how we will get on the other side of this global pandemic,” said St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman. “With both public and private partners, we will expand access to testing which is critical to beating this virus. My thanks to all our partners for everything they are doing for the health and safety of our citizens.”
The location opened one week after BayCare closed its Pinellas drive-thru test collection site in the Carillon office complex in north St. Petersburg. The site, which had operated for 14 weeks, saw demand triple in one week, causing traffic problems for neighboring businesses and testing more than 700 in its last two days of operation.
“Testing is an important weapon in the fight against COVID-19,” said Dr. UIyee Choe, director of the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County. “All those involved are committed to public health and know it is important that we have this testing capacity.”
The drive-thru site will use Lot 2, on the west side of the stadium off 16th Street South. Cars will be directed to enter the drive-thru site from an entrance on 3rd Avenue South, which is west of 16th Street.
Testing is for people who have symptoms, as well as healthcare workers and first responders.
Patients are encouraged to bring a referral from a medical provider and those who do not will be screened based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Testing will be provided on a first-come, first-serve basis with a daily cap based on supplies. Due to the continued challenges with COVID-19 testing supplies, the partners will regularly evaluate supply lines and adjust operations as needed.
BayCare also operates drive-thru sites in Polk and Pasco Counties and is supporting a drive-thru site at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa that is also a partnership between government and health care providers.
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