Duval health department expanding COVID-19 testing hours

New testing hours at Central Health Plaza to begin Aug. 12, expected to be in place for couple of weeks

Changes to testing sites in Duval county after problems and long lines were reported. The city and health department are finally responding.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Health in Duval County will be temporarily expanding COVID-19 testing hours at its Central Health Plaza in Springfield.

Currently, the health department is offering free testing at its Central Health Plaza at 515 West 6th St. from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The new hours will be 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

The expanded hours will begin Thursday, Aug. 12. News4Jax was told they’re expected to be in place for a couple of weeks until the health department opens testing sites at these two community centers:

  • Emmett Reed Community Center at 1093 W. 6th St.
  • Cuba Hunter Community Center at 4380 Bedford Road

Once those two testing locations open, the testing hours at the health department’s Central Health Plaza will go back to 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

RELATED: 5 additional COVID-19 testing sites to open in Jacksonville | COVID-19 testing site to open at St. Johns County Agricultural Center

The Jacksonville City Council on Tuesday, Aug. 10, voted to spend $4 million in federal relief funds to expand testing, with the health department adding the sites at Emmett Reed and Cuba Hunter community centers and the city opening three additional sites at these locations:

  • Lane Wiley Senior Center at 6710 Wiley Road
  • Clanzel T. Brown Community Center at 4545 Moncrief Road
  • Former Kmart shopping center at 540 Atlantic Blvd. (There’s already a drive-up testing site at the Neptune Beach location. Right now, there is a charge for a test, but when the city takes over, it will be free or charged to insurance.)

All five additional sites won’t open immediately. Contracts are currently being signed, but it’s expected some will be operational by next week.

Mia Jones, CEO of Agape Health, said her group will operate two of the additional city sites. News4Jax asked her about what she is seeing in the field and her reaction to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ statement that it appears the surge in Duval County is on a downward trend.

“I am not seeing improvement. At our testing sites, each day, when we open at 9 in the morning, we’ve got a line, and that line continues until we say we can’t take anymore. The numbers of positives are coming back for us at about 30%. That being the case, I don’t see where that’s an improvement,” Jones said.

But with more testing coming, the hope is to be able to see exactly where the Jacksonville area stands with COVID-19.

News4Jax learned that UF Health is getting 25 ventilators from the state. On Wednesday, Aug. 11, UF Health Jacksonville reported it had 258 patients with COVID-19, and 62 were in the intensive care unit. The hospital also reported six additional deaths.

About the Author:

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