Testing for COVID-19 is key to re-opening society, officials say


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The Adventure Island water park is closed, one of many casualties of the coronavirus crisis.

Park officials and healthcare professionals from AdventHealth are taking advantage of it to use the open space to test for COVID-19.

They set up a drive thru testing site, with the capability of testing around 2,000 people a day, and it is absolutely free. The site is privately run and not affiliated with sites operated by the government.

“It’s critically important to be able to test as many people as possible, in order to help flatten the curve to fight this pandemic,” Dr. Ranier Chan, Chief Medical Officer for AdventHealth Medical Group, said.

Flattening the curve will put local areas on the road to recovery and the road to re-opening society.

“We really need to get individuals tested for the virus and we also need to get those anti-body tests out there to find out who has the virus and was unaware they had it,” Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said. “It has a level of immunity to go back out into the workforce and kick start our economy again.”

The mayor said that five testing sites open in Hillsborough County will help administer around 4,000 tests daily.

Once a clearer picture of the virus in the county comes to light, it could bring ease to opening those everyday aspects of society.

“I think that’s about the only way we’re gonna do it,” Tampa resident Karen Vracero said about testing after she received an AdventHealth saliva test Wednesday. “Opening things up without being tested, it’s just ridiculous,” she said.

This is a list of the Hillsborough County testing sites:

  • Adventure Island, across the street from Busch Gardens, 10001 McKinley Dr., Tampa. Open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Operated by AdventHealth.
  • Lee Davis Community Resource Center, 3402 N. 22nd St., Tampa.
  • Plant City Community Resource Center, 207 N. Michigan Ave., Plant City
  • SouthShore Community Resource Center, 201 14th Ave. SE, Ruskin.
  • Raymond James Stadium, south section, Tampa.


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