JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Three new coronavirus testing sites opened Wednesday morning in Jacksonville, bringing free testing into more parts of the city and adding the ability to test more than 3,000 additional people each day.
That may address the hours-long waits people have experienced in the last few weeks at Lot J of TIAA Bank Field and at Legends Center -- the two large public testing sites in the city.
The new sites are federally run and will require patients to make an appointment before they can get tested.
The new sites opened in Arlington, the Northside and the Westside and will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. for only eight days. All the sites are drive-thru, offer active COVID-19 testing and are open to anyone age 5 and above regardless of symptoms.
Doctors say the expanded testing will allow for better contact tracing -- figuring out who has come into contact with the infected.
- First Coast Senior High School, 590 Duval Station Road
- Frank H. Peterson Academies, 7450 Wilson Blvd.
- Regency Square Mall – outside old Sears, 9501 Arlington Expressway
The sites will only be open from Wednesday through July 15. To make an appointment, visit DoINeedACOVID19Test.com.
All 1,250 appointment slots for the Regency Square Mall site were already filled when the site opened Wednesday, but the Florida Association of Public Information Officers tweeted that more appointments were added.
State of Florida run @FLSERT #COVID19 Test Sites in #Jacksonville.— Florida Association of Public Information Officers (@FloridaPIOs) July 8, 2020
🔺🔺More appointments have been added for the Arlington/Regency testing site for today, Wednesday, July 8, 2020.
Make an appointment now at:https://t.co/peJYMh8IEV pic.twitter.com/pFxd4W8zaS
If someone shows up at a site and doesn’t have an appointment, officials will direct them to the Lot J testing site or will help them set up an appointment for one of the other sites.
Like other drive-thru sites, people must remain in their vehicles with windows closed. Windows must fully open and close. Bring your photo identification and a pen.
Baptist Health’s chief physician, Elizabeth Ransom, said more testing is good news as it provides more opportunities to track people who are asymptomatic.
“It just provides more information. We will have a better sense of how many people are infected and how many people are not,” Ransom said. “It allows us an opportunity to help with tracking, so if someone is positive -- maybe they don’t have any symptoms (but) we can find out who that person’s contacts were and help to quarantine them and also get them tested.”
The city’s largest testing site, Lot J, will remain open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through July 15. The mayor said after that, those operations will move to the Regency Mall location to prevent future closures because of weather.
News4Jax was told the tents at the Regency Mall are bigger and sturdier and provide better cover during rain showers.
Lot J had to close early again Sunday for lightning concerns. The final numbers for Sunday before Lot J closed showed 542 active virus swab tests, 85 antibody tests while hundreds of cars were still in line. More than 750 people were tested there a few days last week.
There are many other places to get tested around Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia, but many will bill your insurance. Visit an interactive map of available testing sites.