Tampa COVID testing site slows down on New Year’s Day

Coronavirus

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — One by one, people around Tampa Bay waited their turn to get tested for COVID-19 following a busy holiday season.

“It didn’t take us too long,” Ruchita Landsaria said. “I would say 50 minutes, that wasn’t too bad. They were pretty nice. They also gave us a bottle of water as well.”

The COVID testing location at Al Lopez Park is the only city-run site. Tom Wise told 8 On Your Side this is his second time standing in line.

“I was out yesterday and the line looked to be about a half-mile long. I had to turn around after a couple of hours. I went to the testing site at Rome. Three times, I only got tested twice because the lines were so long.”

Both sites are seeing thousands of people a day. Unfortunately, standing in the hot sun became a struggle for many Friday morning. Authorities said four people collapsed.

“I can see that,” Wise said, “because the line went on forever and ever.”

Tampa city leaders said they expect 3,000 to 5,000 people at the site every time the doors are open. Wise thinks more sites need to open.

“It’s — I don’t want to say ridiculous but let’s have a little forethought,” he said. “We’ve been in this situation for a long time. It would be nice to have testing readily available for everyone.”

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