JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As more and more people are getting tested for COVID-19, Jacksonville is standing by for a big increase in the number of people with the new coronavirus.
The results of those tests are being sent to the Florida Department of Health being tested. Those who are being tested will be notified and the city will get an overall number of cases. As of Wednesday evening, according to state data, there were 60 COVID-19 patients in Duval County, 16 of whom were hospitalized.
During a virtual news conference Wednesday, Mayor Lenny Curry said that area hospitals were not at capacity, but that’s something that they’re monitoring.
“While we have capacity right now, what you’ve seen happen in other countries and is happening in New York is. So, the rate at which admissions related to coronavirus, the coronavirus doubles. And that’s what we have to keep an eye on because if that starts to happen exponentially, that’s when you have to, that’s why we’re setting up the field hospital,” Curry said.
That field hospital is still being set up inside the Prime Osborn Convention Center. It could take a day or two for it to be complete, and because they are keeping it sterile, they did not want News4Jax crews to go inside. It is there as an emergency should the need arise, but right now, the mayor said that all the local hospitals are working together, along with the fire chief to make sure that the city can handle a major outbreak.
“I think what’s really important and is going to be helpful as we go through this is that these hospitals, their leaders are now looking at their own systems and saying, ‘This is our capacity.’ They are communicating across lines to each other. So, one hospital is not suddenly feeling all the stress, while maybe another one or two are not. They’re working together in a pretty special way,” Curry said.
As of Tuesday, Curry said, there have been more than 1,500 tests conducted at the federally-sponsored drive-thru testing site in Lot J outside of TIAA Bank Field and the city’s mobile testing site behind the Prime Osborn.
The mayor encouraged residents who have multiple symptoms of COVID-19 -- trouble breathing, a fever of 99.6 degrees and coughing -- to visit the testing sites. It’s worth noting, however, that an appointment is required for the city’s site at the Prime Osborn, as well as the Ascension Medical Group St. Vincent’s drive-thru testing, which has tested 522 patients since the site opened last week and continues to operate from 8 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday.
The Prime Osborn site will be 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week while testing supplies last.
The TIAA Bank Field site, which includes nine testing stations, will operate from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week for as long as supplies last. News4Jax was told there were would be 250 people tested per day at Lot J site. First responders and health care workers do not need to show any symptoms to be tested at that site.