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As Florida’s coronavirus cases rise, elected officials and medical providers are trying to determine the best system for testing people for the fast-spreading virus while also rationing limited testing supplies.
That means getting tested in the Tampa Bay region is complicated.
Hillsborough County’s Emergency Policy Group — a group of county, city and law enforcement officials — reopened a testing site Raymond James Stadium on April 1.
Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill said the county will need health care providers such as BayCare Health Systems and Tampa General Hospital to continue testing at their locations for COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus that can lead to severe respiratory infections.
Several Tampa Bay hospitals started testing patients in mid-March, each with its own screening criteria and protocols. BayCare alone says it had tested at least 6,000 people at sites in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Polk counties by the end of March.
Here are the criteria, hours and protocol for each test site. This information will change depending on the supply of tests and the latest government orders.
Hillsborough County drive-thru test sites
8 a.m. to 11 a.m., Monday through Friday, based on appointments
- Raymond James Stadium, 4201 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa
- Lee Davis Community Resource Center, 3402 N 22nd St., Tampa
- Plant City Community Resource Center, 307 N Michigan Ave., Plant City
- SouthShore Community Resource Center, 201 14th Ave. SE, Ruskin
- You must call the county’s main information line at (813) 272-5900 to arrange an appointment. Health officials said Monday the county’s policy has changed: Now, anyone who wants to get tested can get a test. You no longer have to show symptoms. “We’re not turning anyone down. We’re open for business,” said Tim Dudley, the county’s emergency management director. The test is free.
BayCare Health Systems drive-through test sites
8 a.m. to 11 a.m., Monday through Friday. The Polk site is only open Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
- Pinellas: BayCare Urgent Care, 900 Carillon Parkway, Suite 106, St. Petersburg.
- Pasco: Gulf High School, 5255 School Road, Port Richey.
- Polk: Bartow Regional Medical Center, 2200 Osprey Blvd.
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A doctor’s referral is encouraged. In order to get tested, you must have a fever, a cough or shortness of breath and meet one of these additional requirements:
- Traveled internationally or on a cruise.
- Traveled to or from California, Washington, Oregon or New York. These are areas of widespread community transmission.
- Had personal close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
- 65 or older with a serious chronic health condition, such as heart disease or cancer.
- Considered immunocompromised.
Drive-thru testing at Adventure Island by AdventHealth
9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays
- Adventure Island, 10001 McKinley Drive, Tampa
You are asked to call 866-694-5503 between 7 a.m and 11 p.m. to pre-register, but an appointment is not required. You must meet testing criteria set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A doctor’s order is not required, and there will be no out-of-pocket costs, regardless of insurance status.
Tampa General Hospital Urgent Care Clinics
Call ahead for hours.
- 4505 Gunn Highway, Tampa.
- 799 W Lumsden Road, Brandon.
- Testing is only available for patients who meet clinical guidelines. Patients can call (813) 925-1903 and a customer service representative will conduct a screening interview. Those who meet the criteria will be seen and evaluated and the appropriate test will be performed.
Call ahead for hours.
- AdventHealth Tampa: 3100 E Fletcher Ave. Patients may be tested at the hospital or an AdventHealth Medical Group physician office, depending on the case.
- AdventHealth Tampa uses a machine to test patients with a physician’s order who meet criteria established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Testing at this location is “on demand” for the hospital’s more serious cases, spokeswoman Ashley Jeffery said.
- AdventHealth is using three other unannounced sites to swab patients and collect samples. To be eligible, you must be referred by an AdventHealth primary care physician. If you meet the criteria for testing, your physician will connect you with a testing site and a team member there will give you instructions on what to do next.
Bayfront Health Medical Group
11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday
- Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, 701 Sixth St. S, St. Petersburg. The testing site is on the east side of the hospital.
- Testing is only for patients who have been referred by a Bayfront Health Medical Group physician. To qualify, a patient must show symptoms of COVID-19 — fever, couch or difficulty breathing — and have other risk factors.
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