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TAMPA — Hillsborough County is launching its long-awaited testing site for COVID-19 at Raymond James Stadium on Wednesday morning.
The county’s first community drive-through test site for the coronavirus is set to open at 8 a.m.
But you can’t just show up. Only those who qualify for testing should go: those who who have a cough, fever or shortness of breath and have been pre-approved through a county call center are allowed to get tested.
The site will be open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, or as long as its limited supplies last. Hillsborough County received enough testing material to take nasal swabs of 900 people.
Unless the state sends more supplies, the county will stop testing once those supplies run out, said Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill.
County officials expect to test about 200 people per day.
In order to qualify, people must meet state and federal testing guidelines and call the Hillsborough County Customer Service Center at (813) 272-5900. The center which is open on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Medical professionals in gowns, surgical masks and gloves will place a swab in each person’s nose to collect a sample, as they would with a flu test. The feeling is said to be mildly irritating, but not invasive or painful. Only the nose will be swabbed; nothing will be placed down the throat.
People can only be tested if they arrive in a personal vehicle. People who ride their bike or walk-up cannot be tested, county officials said.
The test will be free to patients, Merrill said.
“We’re not concerned about cost at this time,” he said. “We’ve made arrangements for the county to take care of the cost and track the billing for reimbursement.”
Individuals must have a photo ID, but do not need to show proof of insurance. They should bring a printed copy or a screen shot of the confirmation email sent from the county’s customer service center.
Test results will be received by phone, but not immediately. They may take several days.
Raymond James Stadium drive-through testing site
Hours: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday or until supplies run out.
Address: 4201 N Dale Mabry Highway. The site is in the parking lot south of the stadium bordered by Tom McEwen Boulevard on the north, N Dale Mabry Highway to the west and N Himes Avenue to the east. Vehicles should enter from Dale Mabry or Himes.
Requirements: You must call the Hillsborough County Center Customer Service Center at (813) 272-5900. Only individuals who are pre-screened, meet requirements and receive a confirmation email may be tested. People cannot just show up at the site.
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