Agape Health working with city to open additional COVID-19 testing sites in Jacksonville

Duval County health department swamped with people in line for testing

There's been a call to open more sites. Agape Health working to open additional locations next week.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – One group offering COVID-19 testing in Jacksonville is working to open additional locations as early as next week.

The Florida Department of Health in Duval County’s Central Health Plaza has been swamped with people in line for testing, and there has been a call to open more sites.

There were even longer lines Tuesday, with hundreds of people waiting to be tested. Some people told News4Jax they stood in line for hours.

Those long lines, according to Agape Health CEO Mia Jones, are a major problem.

“For many, when they see those long lines, they just turn around and go back home, and we still need for them to know whether or not they have COVID,” Jones said.

That is why Agape Health is now working with the city to open up additional testing sites.

It won’t happen all at once. Jones is pushing for four more locations. News4Jax has learned that two of them would be at senior centers like the Clanzel Brown Senior Center on the Northside and the Lane Wiley Senior Center on the Westside. Jones said they are hoping to open at least one site next week. But the biggest problem is getting health care workers for the sites. Federal help is available, but as of yet, the state has not made that request, so Jones said they are doing what they can.

“We know the health department can only do so much, so we want to make sure that within this community there are multiple sites to get the services that they need,” Jones said.

There are private testing sites that are open, including one in Neptune Beach where Telescope Health is offering drive-thru rapid testing. But it’s not free. It costs $125, and currently, insurance is not accepted.

Various pharmacies also offer testing, but you have to make an appointment, which may not be available for a few days.

Right now, the Duval County health department is offering free testing from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at its Central Health Plaza at 515 West 6th St. The health department is also looking to expand its hours and possibly add Saturdays to its testing schedule. Staffing is still an issue, and so far, the health department has not determined if and when that will happen.

About the Author:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.