Sun City Center residents want coronavirus testing center in their community

Hillsborough County

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – More coronavirus testing centers are getting set up across the state, but one community in the Tampa Bay area says they don’t have one despite definitely needing one.

Sun City Center is a place for residents living out their golden years. Currently, people only come out for basic necessities.

The coronavirus threatens a segment of the population that is already dealing with health issues and weakened immune systems. That is the majority in this retirement community of 55 and up.

“I’m lucky. I got like three, four months to go and then I hit it. But I’m getting there,” said Steve Mattson, a Sun City Center resident.

“This site is adding to a lot of sites that are being successfully run across the State of Florida,” said Governor Ron Desantis earlier this week, touting a new COVID-19 testing site at The Villages.

That site is run by the University of Florida. Residents can book appointments and pull up in their golf carts.

“People in the community themselves wonder why they went to The Villages. The Villages have 125,000 people. Of course they should go first,” said Mattson.

Sun City residents, though, want a site closer to them.

“At the time we had to go, I think it was Seffner was the closest place to have a test done,” said John Sherburne, who also lives in Sun City Center.

Looking for answers, 8 On Your Side reached out to the Florida Department of Health to ask if there are plans to bring a mobile testing site to Sun City Center. This was their reply:

“The state is taking proactive measures to respond to the virus in the state. This includes ordering an additional 2,500 test kits, which can test 625,000 individuals, to prepare for potential testing surge, installing four drive-thru testing sites to test healthcare workers, first responders and those older than 65 and issuing an Executive Order to limit mass gatherings in bars, restaurants and beaches…The state is continuously adapting to respond to COVID-19 and will take all necessary measures to protect all Floridians against the virus.”

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