Long lines reported at Regency COVID-19 testing site

Be prepared to stand in line for up to 2 hours

People wait in line Monday at the COVID-19 testing site at the Regency Square Mall. (WJXT)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Long lines were reported Monday at the state’s COVID-19 testing site at the Regency Square Mall in Jacksonville, the Florida Association of Public Information Officers said.

The association said Monday afternoon that people should be prepared to stand in line for up to two hours -- even if they have an appointment.

Earlier this month, the Regency site added free COVID-19 antigen rapid testing. The association said Nomi Health, which started running the site on Oct. 13, sends a text and an email with the results, which have been taking 20 minutes to two hours to be received.

Anyone who tests negative using this BinaxNOWTM COVID-19 antigen test but is symptomatic can receive a PCR COVID-19 test using a nasal swab. Those results typically take 24-48 hours.

The availability of rapid testing prompted a surge of people coming in that the Regency testing site had not seen for weeks. Nomi Health said it added more tent staff and stations.

The walk-up site at 9501 Arlington Expressway is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. Online registration and appointments are available at https://testing.nomihealth.com/signup/fl.

Here’s what else you need to know about the site:

  • No symptoms are required.
  • There is no cost to be tested.
  • Waiting takes place in your vehicle.
  • Bring photo identification.
  • Testing is available for children and adults.
  • Testing is available to anyone regardless of where you live.
  • No restrooms are available for public use.

Four weeks after Florida entered Phase 3 -- removing capacity limits for businesses, including restaurants and bars -- the number of positive COVID-19 tests is ticking up. On Monday, the Florida Department of Health confirmed 3,377 new cases, bringing the total number of cases to 782,013 since the pandemic reached the state.

A local doctor told News4JAx that he’s seeing more patients with COVID-19, including children.

“It’s definitely not close to being over,” said Dr. Saman Soleymani, Avecina Medical president. “Now that school is back, kids are not as strict with PPE and masks and not hanging out too much.”

Duval County schools data shows an increase in COVID-19 from September to October. Soleymani said he’s not surprised. He said he has tested students at public and private schools and, in some cases, the children giving COVID-19 to their parents.

“The problem is when they pass it on to their parents or their grandparents -- someone unsuspecting that has a compromised situation -- that is where it is dangerous,” Soleymani said. “We have had cases where the children have done fine, but the parents and the grandparents have gotten quite sick.”

Now, with the holidays approaching, Soleymani has some recommendations.

“I think you want to still practice caution and have your mask and wash your hands,” Soleymani said. “If you have elderly parents, you probably will want to stay away.”

Though many have grown tired of COVID-19 and even taking precautions, according to health officials like Soleymani, the pandemic is far from over.

For students or teachers who want to get tested for COVID19, there are four designated locations around the city. They’re at senior centers – Oceanway, Leroy Clemons, Lane Wiley and Mandarin.

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