Jacksonville shutters fee-based COVID-19 testing site
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Free sites are still available.

Jacksonville’s fee-based coronavirus testing site at the Prime Osborn Convention Center is closing operations as of Wednesday.

The drive-through testing location at the downtown convention center was the first established in Northeast Florida in March, but with more sites opening in recent weeks throughout the area, Jacksonville city officials decided it was time to decommission the site.

“Telescope Health and Baptist Health have demonstrated an invaluable commitment to the health and well-being of our citizens and community,” Mayor Lenny Curry said. “We are grateful for their partnership and assistance launching the first testing site at the onset of this pandemic and we value the expertise they are continuing to provide to help stop the spread of COVID-19.”

The testing site in Lot J of TIAA Bank Field where the Jacksonville Jaguars play their games offers free testing and thus, has had more traffic, often having to close early due to demand exceeding resources.

Several other testing sites that, both drive-through and walk-up, have also opened.

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“We’re pleased that our joint-operations at Prime Osborn have inspired so many public testing sites across Northeast Florida,” said Matthew Rill, CEO of Telescope Health. “Getting tested is critical to keeping the rate of COVID-19 infections under control to ultimately find our way back to normalcy. Telescope Health will continue to work closely with the city of Jacksonville to determine meaningful next steps for our community as we navigate this health crisis.”

The Prime Osborn Convention Center was also the site of a federal field hospital established to handle any possible overflow from hospitals if they became overrun.

That need never arose.

Drew Dixon

Drew Dixon is a journalist of 40 years who has reported in print and broadcast throughout Florida, starting in Ohio in the 1980s. He is also an adjunct professor of philosophy and ethics at three colleges, Jacksonville University, University of North Florida and Florida State College at Jacksonville. You can reach him at [email protected]



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