CLAY COUNTY – Several testing facilities for the coronavirus now are open throughout Northeast Florida.
Florida has three federal facilities currently testing people for the coronavirus every day and one of them is in Jacksonville. It’s located at the TIAA Bank stadium where the Jacksonville Jaguars play football in Lot J of the parking lot. With healthcare officials doing testing from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, it’s expected that confirmed cases of the coronavirus will increase.
There also are sites set up in St. Johns County.
“We have a number of cases but I do predict those numbers will go up because we do have more availability in testing,” Clay County Florida Department of Health administrator Heather Huffman said. “Commercial testing has come online and they’re producing more than our public health labs because of their capacity abilities.”
The Jacksonville facility originally only tested those older than 65 showing symptoms of the coronavirus. It has since been opened to people of all ages showing symptoms.
The primary symptom people should be concerned with is a fever of 99.6 degrees or higher, along with respiratory illness, Huffman said. However, people no longer need to show any symptoms to be tested at the football stadium.
“Any first responders or healthcare providers can go and get tested regardless of any signs or symptoms,” Huffman said. “They must bring their work ID.”
The facility has the capability of testing 250 people a day. You must bring your own pen, a photo ID, and you must not take fever reducing medication four to six hours prior to testing. The test is being performed like a drive-thru so once you enter the area, you are not to leave your vehicle. Up to four people in a single vehicle can be tested every 15 minutes.
“If you feel like you have the signs and symptoms, we strongly encourage you to get tested,” Huffman said. “Remember, there is no treatment for this at the end of the day. Stay home and hydrate. If you need it, go to urgent care.”
Public health labs take about 48 hours to return test results. Huffman said regardless of testing positive or negative, those who feel sick should remain home and self-quarantine.
The test is free for anyone showing symptoms or first responders and healthcare providers.