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Tampa Bay

Hillsborough County had to suspend coronavirus testing appointments after reaching limit

The county had just 900 tests to administer and has already filled all appointments.

Hillsborough County is suspending its reservation system for COVID-19 testing. The county has already made appointments for 900 residents since opening a drive-through testing site at Raymond James Stadium Wednesday.

Residents had already begun securing appointments before that testing site opened.

Appointments were only given to people experiencing symptoms including fever, cough and shortness of breath.

The county won’t make any further reservations for testing until further notice, officials announced Thursday as they only had enough supplies to administer 900.

The call center charged with booking appointments was staffed by health care professionals this week who could screen and qualify callers for testing related to symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

The county administered 198 tests Wednesday, two short of its 200 goal. The site will remain open until Saturday from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. only for individuals who received appointments.

The county recommends anyone experiencing symptoms who was unable to obtain an appointment to contact their health care provider for guidance on additional testing options.

Those who are sick, but unable to obtain testing should self-quarantine to risk spreading the virus. Families living in the same home with a sick individual should have that person isolate to a “sick room” if possible to avoid infecting other family members.

Testing options remain limited throughout the state as testing supply shortage continue to plague the entire nation.

Hillsborough County has, as of the Florida Department of Health’s 11 a.m. update, has so far tested 2,268 individuals, 142 of whom have tested positive.

Meanwhile, Pinellas County has had access to just over half the testing with just  1,205 tests administered including 64 that were positive.

Hillsborough County, meanwhile, is expected to implement a “safer at home” order beginning at 10 p.m. Friday that would require all residents, visitors and business to abide by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on social distancing.

A similar order in Pinellas County went into effect Thursday at noon.

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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