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Clay County opens 1st community coronavirus testing site

County will have five sites open at various locations over next 2 weeks

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – After Gov. Ron DeSantis announced his plan to slowly and methodically reopen Florida’s economy, Clay County officials announced Friday that the county will be opening COVID-19 testing sites in the community.

Emergency Management Director John Ward said testing hadn’t been as readily available in Clay County because of concerns with personal protective equipment shortages and a lack of testing swabs.

But those issues have been resolved and increasing testing capacity is one of the elements to ensure a safe reopening so that coronavirus patients can be identified quickly.

“We need to get a pulse check of what’s out there,” Ward said Thursday.

Ward said the county will have five testing locations in various communities over the next two weeks:

Keystone Heights

Little Rain Lake Park

6725 Little Rain Lake Road

Monday, May 4, and Tuesday, May 5

8 a.m. to noon

Middleburg

Omega Park

4317 County Road 218

Wednesday, May 6, and Thursday, May 7

8 a.m. to noon

Green Cove Springs

County administration building staff parking lot

477 Houston St.

Friday, May 8, and Monday, May 11

8 a.m. to noon

Oakleaf

Oakleaf Community Park

3979 Plantation Oaks Blvd.

Tuesday, May 12, and Wednesday, May 13

8 a.m. to noon

Orange Park

Walter Odum Park

450 Parkwood Dr.

Thursday, May 14, and Friday, May 15

8 a.m. to noon

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Ward said signs and symptoms of the coronavirus are not required to be tested at the new sites opening Monday.

The testing is by appointment only and anyone who arrives without an appointment will be turned away.

To make an appointment, call 877-252-9362.

The appointments are dependent on the weather and should last only 10 minutes. There is no cost for the tests at these sites.

Residents are asked to bring identification and their own pen to the appointment and to remain in their vehicles.

Ward acknowledged that it’s likely COVID-19 case numbers will increase in the county as testing capacity improves.

“The cases are already in the community,” he said, “many of them are asymptomatic.”

As of Sunday, according to the Florida Department of Health, Clay County had 279 COVID-19 cases with 18 deaths, including the deaths of a 92-year-old man and 63-year-old man that were announced Saturday.

“We’ve been unfortunate in our community that it has hit our most vulnerable," said Heather Huffman with the Clay County division of the Florida Department of Health. "That’s why our mortality rate is where it’s at.”

Huffman said in addition to concerns over personal protective equipment and swabs, the county was dealing with lab capacity issues and test results were not getting out in a timely manner because of a backlog.

She said the goal is to improve the turnaround to be only 24-48 hours, and they hope to test 150 to 200 people a day.

Clay County, which has extended the local state of emergency through May 8, is also offering to help those in need of food assistance. Click here to learn how to register online.


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