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Tropicana Field reaches capacity early on second day

The Raymond James Stadium site also tested 1,156 people Tuesday.
An unidentified man rides a bicycle past a sign declaring that COVID-19 testing at Tropicana field is closed for the day Tuesday, June 30, 2020 in St. Petersburg. Shortly after opening for the second day of testing in a parking lot of Tropicana Field vehicles were turned away.
An unidentified man rides a bicycle past a sign declaring that COVID-19 testing at Tropicana field is closed for the day Tuesday, June 30, 2020 in St. Petersburg. Shortly after opening for the second day of testing in a parking lot of Tropicana Field vehicles were turned away. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Jun. 30, 2020
Updated Jul. 1, 2020

Tropicana Field closed early on its second day of COVID-19 testing Tuesday, once again reaching capacity shortly after 8 a.m. Cars lined up from the ballpark entrance and down 16th Street by early morning.

Police closed the access point at 16th Street and First Avenue South at 8:20 a.m., after 518 people were let inside and officials confirmed that testing supplies could not accommodate more.

“Supply lines are not keeping up with growth and demand for testing,” said Joni James, a spokesperson with BayCare Health System. “We are getting shipments every day, but they’re not consistent.”

James said that 514 people were tested Tuesday, and the other four did not meet the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for coronavirus testing and were turned away. BayCare Health System incorrectly reported Monday that 600 tests were administered due to “a counting error.” In fact, 357 people were tested.

BayCare Health System, which initially oversaw the drive-thru testing service at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa when it opened in March, announced the new addition to Tropicana Field last week, in addition to existing sites in Pasco and Polk counties. The hospital operator administers tests in the parking lot in partnership with the City of St. Petersburg, Pinellas County government and the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County.

Testing is first come, first serve, while supplies last. The Tropicana Field site will open at 7 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday this week and will be closed Friday in observance of Independence Day. The site will be open 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday through Friday the following week.

Raymond James Stadium had its first day of expanded testing as a state-run site on Tuesday. The site can test up to 1,000 people per day, with the projected goal of 5,000 tests per week, according to Jason Mahon, communications director for the Florida division of emergency management. In total, the Raymond James site tested 1,156 people Tuesday.

The Hillsborough County location requires patients to schedule appointments in advance online or by phone. Testing at all state-run sites is free of cost. The facility will be open Tuesday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Hillsborough Office of Emergency Management has yet to decide whether to close the testing site on July 3 and 4 in observance of Independence Day.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Raymond James Stadium had its second day of expanded testing Tuesday. It was the site’s first day of expanded testing.

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