Throughout Tampa Bay this week, long lines snaked through parking lots as people waited to learn whether they had contracted the novel coronavirus.
Testing demand is rising the week ahead of Thanksgiving. Tropicana Field reported wait times of two hours. The car line at Raymond James Stadium was past Columbus Drive at 7:30 a.m. Thursday, before the test site opened.
Some people want to secure a negative test before deciding whether to celebrate the holiday with friends and family. Others are driven by rising case numbers.
Most locations are drive-thrus where you wait in the car and a medical professional uses a long swab to collect a sample from your nose. Some of these sites also offer rapid antigen tests, where you can get results as quickly as 15 minutes. Many are free, but some require insurance information or payment later.
Several sites are requiring people to make appointments beforehand. Wait times for results vary, but range from two to 12 days based on the site, laboratory and current demand.
Here is an updated list of locations, criteria, hours and protocol. This information will change depending on the supply of tests and the latest government orders. Providers with an asterisk operate in a number of counties.
Hillsborough County drive-thru test site
Appointments required. The call center is open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Suncoast Community Health Centers, 313 S. Lakewood Drive, Brandon
- You must make an appointment in advance either online at www.hcflgov.net/covidtesting or call the county’s main information line at (813) 272-5900. Anyone who wants to get tested can get a test. The test is free. No doctor’s referral is needed, and insurance is not required.
Hillsborough County state-operated drive-thru test sites
8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Days vary based on site.
- Lee Davis Community Resource Center, 3402 N 22nd Street, Tampa. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.
- Raymond James Stadium, 4201 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. Tuesday through Saturday.
- Testing is done on a first-come, first-served basis. The sites can accommodate some pedestrians, but in-vehicle testing is preferred. Identification and contact information will be requested. Tests are free, and no insurance is required.
Tampa International Airport
7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. weekdays. 8 a.m. to noon Saturday and Sunday. Closed Thanksgiving.
- Main airport terminal, 4100 George J Bean Parkway, Tampa.
- People must provide proof of travel within three days, such as a boarding pass or airline receipt. The “gold standard” polymerase chain reaction test costs $125 and provides results in about 48 hours. The antigen test can be processed onsite in less than an hour and costs $57.
Pinellas Department of Health drive-thrus
Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving.
Location provided once an appointment is scheduled
An appointment is required and can be made by calling 727-824-6900. The test is free to patients, regardless of insurance.
Pinellas Community Health Centers drive-thrus
5 to 8 p.m., Thursdays. Also on Tuesdays in Pinellas Park. Closed for Thanksgiving.
- 707 East Druid Road, Clearwater
- 7550 43rd Street North, Pinellas Park
Appointments are not required, but can be made calling 727-824-8181 and selecting option 0 or visiting www.chcpinellas.org
Tropicana Field drive-thru
8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays. Open Monday, Nov. 23, and closed Thanksgiving and Nov. 27.
Tropicana Field Parking Lot 2, located on the west side of the stadium off 16th Street S, St. Petersburg.
You need not be a Pinellas resident to get tested and no insurance information is necessary. Identification and a phone number will be requested. No appointments are being taken. Testing will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Rapid testing is also available.
Manatee County sites
Daily. Hours vary by location.
- Bradenton Area Convention Center, 1 Haben Boulevard, Palmetto. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- 100 Cattlemen Road, Sarasota. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Testing is available to anyone older than 18, regardless of symptoms, and is free to the public. No appointments are necessary. Rapid tests are available at the convention center.
*CVS self-swab drive-thrus
The sites typically operate from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., based on appointments.
CVS offers testing at dozens of its locations throughout Tampa Bay, including in Bradenton, Brandon, Clearwater, Dunedin, Lakeland, Largo, Lutz, Madeira Beach, Oldsmar, Pinellas Park, St. Petersburg, Tampa and Tarpon Springs. People can choose a location once they’ve completed an online screening.
CVS is making testing available to anyone experiencing symptoms who meets the requirements listed on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Patients must first book appointments by visiting CVS.com.
The Tampa Bay stores have the capacity to test up to 50 people a day. All testing will take place inside a person’s car. No walk-ups will be accepted and no testing will take place inside stores.
*BayCare Health Systems drive-thru test sites
Mornings, Monday through Friday. The Clearwater site is only open Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
- Pasco: Gulfview Square Mall, 9409 U.S. Highway 19, Port Richey. 8 to 11 a.m.
- Pinellas: Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. 7 to 10 a.m.
A doctor’s referral is encouraged. If not, you will be screened while in line to see if you meet requirements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For patients without insurance, the cost of the COVID-19 lab test is $85. Payment is not due at testing. BayCare is working with government agencies to secure funding for patients that are unable to pay.
*MedExpress options in Tampa Bay
8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- 26812 US Highway 19 N, Clearwater
- 10500 Ulmerton Road, Largo
- 13856 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa
- 13610 Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, Tampa
- 2810 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Tampa
Tests are available on a limited basis daily. Doctor referrals are not required. Find more information at medexpress.com.
* - Providers operate in a number of counties
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