JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – City Councilman Garrett Dennis on Wednesday introduced legislation to bring three more COVID-19 testing sites to the Jacksonville area.
The order calls for $5 million in emergency funding for the sites. The three locations include:
- College Park on University Boulevard North
- Lane Wiley Senior Center on Wiley Road
- Shoppes of Sherwood on Soutel Drive
A news release from Dennis’ office said the decision comes amid the uptick in local COVID cases and long waiting lines at the current testing sites. To become effective, the legislation needs Mayor Lenny Curry’s signature.
“This is something we can’t continue to talk about. We need to act,” Dennis said. “The city of Jacksonville has the funds to do it and so we have to put our money where our mouth is.”
Dennis said the $5 million will cover the testing costs, noting that some COVID tests cost about $100.
“It will be free testing for our citizens here in Jacksonville,” Dennis said.
The councilman said the city’s savings account has $200 million in it that could be used. He said it will be reimbursed with $172 million in funds from the federal government.
The locations would be run by Agape Community Health Center, which has been working with the city on a plan to open additional locations.
Dennis hopes to get the legislation in front of the City Council on Tuesday. If it gets approved, he hopes to have the additional sites open by Aug. 16.
As of late, the Florida Department of Health in Duval County’s Central Health Plaza has been swamped with people in line for testing. Hundreds of people were in line Tuesday, with some telling News4Jax they stood in line for more than an hour.
It was the same Wednesday for Darren Clark.
“It’s been a little over an hour. The line is pretty extensive, especially for a Wednesday,” Clark said.
For Leisa Campbell, the wait was the same.
“All the other appointments for any sites they’re all completely booked up,” Campbell said.
The Duval County Health Department is also exploring the idea of expanding testing hours at the current sites.