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Where to get a free COVID test in Tampa Bay

There are still some free, public COVID-19 test sites available in Citrus, Hernando, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Sarasota counties.
People wait in a line for that wraps around the West Tampa Community Resource Center to get tested for COVID-19 on Dec. 28. Tampa Bay officials are opening more free, public testing sites to meet the demand for testing as the omicron variant drives a surge of cases.
People wait in a line for that wraps around the West Tampa Community Resource Center to get tested for COVID-19 on Dec. 28. Tampa Bay officials are opening more free, public testing sites to meet the demand for testing as the omicron variant drives a surge of cases. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published Dec. 30, 2021|Updated May 24

Here’s a list of the remaining public COVID-19 test sites in the Tampa Bay area.

Related: Florida adds 11,337 COVID cases in the past week
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Public vs. private test sites

Testing at a public site is free, whether or not you have insurance. The site may bill your insurer, however. Most do not require appointments, though walk-ups may have to wait in line. Check in advance.

Private providers such as clinics, pharmacies and urgent care centers may require appointments and may treat the test as a medical appointment, adding paperwork and time to your test. They could also charge you or your insurer, so call in advance to find out the insurance and cost requirements.

The current testing and vaccination infrastructure faces uncertainty because federal COVID-19 funds are running out and the Senate has not yet voted on a deal to restore funding. The uninsured can still get tested and vaccinated for free at public sites, according to the Miami Herald, but call ahead to make sure. The Herald reports that the current supply of tests and vaccines has already been paid for by the federal government and will remain free until it runs out.

Wherever you get tested, bring your ID and provide your full name, address and contact information so you can receive the test results. And wear your mask.

Note: Public sites could close early if they run out of tests. Check your county government’s social media accounts to see if they’re still open before heading there.

Related: Florida limits COVID data to every two weeks, state says via meme
• • •

How to order free at-home tests

The Biden administration launched a website, COVIDTests.gov, that allows Americans to order free COVID-19 rapid antigen tests via the mail that can be taken at home.

The current limit is two orders each of four at-home tests per residential address. If you’ve already received your first order, you can put in for a second order.

If you have questions this website may answer them.

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Tampa Bay’s public testing sites

Check in advance to see if the testing site is open during the New Year’s holiday weekend.

• • •

Citrus County

  • Free testing is available at the Central Ridge Community Center, 77 Civic Circle, in Beverly Hills. Open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends, weather permitting. Call customer service at 904-295-0562 for more information. To avoid wait times, make an appointment via testing.nomihealth.com/signup/fl

Click here for more information about testing in Citrus.

• • •

Hernando County

  • Free drive-thru testing at the Hernando County Fairgrounds, 6436 Broad St., Brooksville. Open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, weather permitting. Appointments recommended but not required. Click here to pre-register. Call customer service at 904-295-0562 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Click here for non-public test sites in Hernando.

• • •

Hillsborough County

  • Hillsborough County government has closed all of its free, public testing and vaccination sites. For more COVID-19 information from the county, click here.
Related: Where to get a free COVID test in Tampa Bay
• • •

Manatee County

  • Free, public test site at 1301 Eighth Ave. W, Bradenton. Open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week. Walk-ups welcome. Government-issued identification is required. To save time, officials ask residents to pre-register here.

Click here for more information about testing in Manatee.

• • •

Pasco County

  • Free drive-thru testing outside the old Sears at Gulf View Square Mall, 9409 U.S. 19, Port Richey. Open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week, weather permitting. Appointments recommended but not required. Walk-ups accepted from 3:15 p.m. to 7 p.m. Click here to pre-register. Call customer service at 904-295-0562 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Test results could take up to five days.

Click here for more information about testing in Pasco.

• • •

Pinellas County

  • Pinellas County government has closed all of its free, public testing and vaccination sites. For more COVID-19 information from the county, click here.
• • •

Polk County

  • Free drive-thru testing at AdventHealth Heart of Florida hospital, 40100 U.S. 27, Davenport. Open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week.
  • Free drive-thru testing at the Auburndale Testing and Vaccination Center, 245 E. Lake Ave., Auburndale. Open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday thru Thursday. Open from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Fridays. Appointment required. No walk-up testing. Call 863-519-7910 to schedule a children’s appointment.
  • Free drive-thru testing at Bartow Regional Medical Center, 2200 Osprey Blvd., Bartow. Open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week. No appointment required. No walk-up testing.
  • Free drive-thru testing at the Gil Jones Center, 3425 U.S. 17 N, Winter Haven. Open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week. No appointment required. No walk-up testing.
  • Free drive-thru testing at Lakeland Regional Health Center, in the D-E parking garage, 1324 Lakeland Hills Blvd., Lakeland. Open from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday thru Friday and from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturdays. Appointments required. No walk-up testing. Call 863-413-5907 to schedule an appointment.
  • Free drive-thru testing at RP Funding Center, 701 W Lime St., Lakeland. Open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week. No appointment required. No walk-up testing.
  • Pediatric testing: Lakeland Regional Health Center, triage Area of the Children’s Emergency Department at the Carol Jenkins Barnett Pavilion, 1324 Lakeland Hills Blvd., Lakeland. Open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. Appointment and doctor’s note required to get tested. For more information, call 863-687-1203.

Click here for more information about testing in Polk.

• • •

Sarasota County

  • Free walk-up testing at Dallas White Park, 5900 Greenwood Ave., North Port. Open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., weekdays.
  • Free walk-up testing at Robert L. Taylor Community Complex parking lot, 1845 34th St., Sarasota. Open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., weekdays.
  • Free walk-up testing at 5400 Bradenton Road, Sarasota. Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday thru Saturday. Note: Use the address 5400 Old Bradenton Road to find the site via Apple Maps.
  • Free drive-thru testing at Ed Smith Stadium, 2700 12th St., Sarasota. Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week. This site only uses PCR tests.
  • Free drive-thru testing at the Venice Community Center, 326 Nokomis Ave. S, Venice. Open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday thru Saturday.

Click here for more information about testing in Sarasota.

• • •

For more information

  • For more information about COVID-19, contact the Florida Department of Health by calling 866-779-6121, emailing covid-19@flhealth.gov or visiting floridahealthcovid19.gov.
  • The health department has a website that lists testing sites but some information may be out of date.
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a website that can help you find a testing site.

• • •

How to get tested

Tampa Bay: The Times can help you find the free, public COVID-19 testing sites in Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Sarasota counties.

Florida: The Department of Health has a website that lists testing sites in the state. Some information may be out of date.

The U.S.: The Department of Health and Human Services has a website that can help you find a testing site.

• • •

How to get vaccinated

The COVID-19 vaccine for ages 5 and up and booster shots for everyone ages 16 and up are being administered at doctors’ offices, clinics, pharmacies, grocery stores and public vaccination sites. Many allow appointments to be booked online. Here’s how to find a site near you:

Find a site: Visit vaccines.gov to find vaccination sites in your zip code.

More help: Call the National COVID-19 Vaccination Assistance Hotline.

Phone: 800-232-0233. Help is available in English, Spanish and other languages.

TTY: 888-720-7489

Disability Information and Access Line: Call 888-677-1199 or email DIAL@n4a.org.

• • •

Tampa Bay Times coronavirus coverage

KIDS AND VACCINES: Got questions about vaccinating your kid? Here are some answers.

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BOOSTER QUESTIONS: Are there side effects? Why do I need it? We’ve got answers.

PROTECTING SENIORS: Here’s how seniors can stay safe from the virus.

COVID AND THE FLU: Get a flu shot and the COVID vaccine to avoid a ‘twindemic.’

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