Hillsborough gains four drive-thru COVID-19 test sites

Drive-thru locations open Wednesday in East Tampa, Plant City, Ruskin and at Adventure Island
Hillsborough County is adding three sites where residents can be tested for COVID-19 beginning Wednesday. The testing at Raymond James Stadium, above, will continue.
Hillsborough County is adding three sites where residents can be tested for COVID-19 beginning Wednesday. The testing at Raymond James Stadium, above, will continue. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
Published Apr. 21, 2020|Updated Apr. 23, 2020

TAMPA — People in Hillsborough County have four new and free options to get tested for the novel coronavirus.

The county will open three additional drive-thru test sites Wednesday in Plant City, Ruskin and East Tampa. AdventHealth will also start testing up to 2,000 people a day at Adventure Island.

The four drive-thru sites join the existing Raymond James Stadium location in Tampa in offering free testing to people who are symptomatic and meet other criteria. More than 4,000 people have been tested at the stadium since it opened last month.

The additional sites — spread throughout the large county — are an effort to make COVID-19 testing as convenient as possible for all residents, a county news release said, and not just those who are close to the stadium.

Related: Raymond James Stadium to re-open for coronavirus testing

Expanding the capacity for testing and “ensuring everyone has access to testing that is convenient and affordable” will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep communities safe, said Mike Schultz, president and chief executive of AdventHealth West Florida Division.

The new county sites are: Lee Davis Community Resource Center, 3402 N 22nd St., Tampa; Plant City Community Resource Center, 307 N Michigan Ave., Plant City, and SouthShore Community Resource Center, 201 14th Ave. SE, Ruskin.

AdventHealth’s site at Adventure Island is across the street from Busch Gardens at 10001 McKinley Dr., Tampa.

Pre-registration for the Adventure Island site is preferred by calling (866) 694-5503, but people who meet testing requirements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can also drive-up day-of between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays. Wednesday, the first day the site is open, testing will be limited to between noon and 4 p.m.

Those who want to get tested at one of the county’s four sites — Raymond James, East Tampa, Ruskin and Plant City — must call in advance and book an appointment. Testing will be administered to individuals with symptoms related to COVID-19 who have pre-registered and scheduled an appointment through Hillsborough County’s call center at (813) 272-5900. The call center is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

The new sites will also be able to test individuals who don’t have a car and who will have to walk or bike to get tested, county spokesman Todd Pratt said. Those individuals will still need to meet screening requirements and schedule an appointment ahead of time. However, the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority reminds patrons not to ride a public bus if they are symptomatic.

County officials say they are working on options to test symptomatic people at home if they don’t have transportation options.

Related: Hillsborough looks to extend testing for minorities and people without cars

There is no charge for the test administered at any of the drive-through locations, and individuals are not required to have health insurance.

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Residents being tested at a county site must bring photo identification with their name and date of birth and the correct confirmation code provided by the call center. They must also provide health care workers with a current address and telephone number in order to receive test results.

As of Monday, approximately 15,000 people had been tested for the coronavirus in Hillsborough County, which has a population of 1.4 million.

Clarification: This story was updated to reflect that symptomatic people are asked not to ride on public buses.

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