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Drive-through coronavirus testing site opens at Raymond James Stadium; here’s what to expect

Not everyone can get a test though.

Hillsborough County opened a drive-through test site Wednesday morning at 8 a.m. to test individuals showing potential signs of COVID-19 including fever, cough  or shortness of breath.

Only those pre-screened, pre-registered and approved may get tested.

The county has 900 tests available to administer. The testing site will be open Wednesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. or until tests run out. The county expects to test about 200 people per day.

To get pre-approved for a test, individuals showing symptoms should call the Hillsborough County Customer Service Center at 813-272-5900. A representative will ask callers about their symptoms and recent travel history to gauge risk and priority level. Call center representatives are available from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Because there is a shortage of testing supplies, the county’s goal is to only test those who are showing symptoms and are currently ill.

Results will be delivered by phone, but because of a backlog at testing centers, results are expected to take five or more days to process.

If approved for testing, individuals must show up to the testing site in a private vehicle. Those arriving on bike or foot will be turned away.

Symptomatic persons seeking a test can expect health officials to approach the vehicle wearing personal protective equipment including surgical masks, gloves and gowns.

Medical practitioners will test pre-approved individuals from their car by placing a swab in the individual’s nose to collect a sample, a test similar to the flu. 

The nasal swab may be uncomfortable, but is not invasive or painful.

People should show up with a copy or screenshot of the confirmation email from the county customer service center indicating they are eligible. Identification is also required.

Proof of insurance is not required and the tests will be free.

The testing site opens the same day Tampa Mayor Jane Castor is expected to issue a citywide stay-at-home order. That order will not affect individuals seeking tests.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at Janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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