Hours-long wait greets those wanting COVID-19 tests in Jacksonville

Many wondering why mass testing sites are being re-opened as cases spike across Florida

People are waiting hours to be tested for COVID-19 in Jacksonville. With the delta variant spreading around the city and impacting people of all ages, more people are getting tested.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With a surge in COVID-19 cases in Jacksonville, the demand for testing is only increasing day after day.

The Florida Department of Health -- Duval County said it’s seeing up to 400 people per day wanting to be tested at its Central Health Plaza in Springfield.

Those wanting to be tested are spending hours upon hours waiting in the heat.

“The line stretches up behind the building. I didn’t realize that there’s one nurse and two taking names,” said Phillip Cameron, who was tested at the DOH.

Cameron and his two sons were with the 100 other people waiting up to three hours in the line that wrapped around the building.

“More testing sites available for everybody -- that what needs to happen,” said Cameron. “There needs to be a lot more testing. We need to go back to where it was last year where it was widely available.”

The Health Department says right now there is no plan to re-open a mass testing site.

Right now the DOH offers free, walk-up testing Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. at the Central Health Plaza at 515 W 6th St.

Starting Aug. 2, Mondays will be added.

“I went yesterday to the Health Department, and the line was around the building, and I didn’t get tested, so that’s why I came here earlier this morning,” said Sylvia Adams, who was tested at Agape Health on Friday.

“What we’re hearing is some people are symptomatic or someone in the family is symptomatic and they’ve come in contact with the other family members or people in their jobs. We have a lot of kids that are coming and they’ve come in contact with someone at their day camps or within the community and the family feels they need to be tested,” said Mia Jones, CEO of Agape Health.

Jones said on Thursday, Agape staff administered 200 tests and two weeks ago, only 50. Its testing numbers have quadrupled over the past week.

Jones said Agape can administer 300-400 tests per day.

Testing is available Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. at 5460 Blanding Blvd. Then on Thursday and Friday at 1680 Dunn Ave.

With the demand high, those waiting are wondering why more testing sites aren’t being opened by local officials.

There is also testing available at most CVS, Walgreens and Walmart pharmacies as well as at CareSpots and Avecina Medical facilities.

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