Hillsborough County Sets Up Coronavirus Testing Site At Stadium

This article originally appeared on the Tampa Patch

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FL — Beginning Wednesday, March 25, at 8 a.m., Hillsborough County will open a coronavirus testing sites at Raymond James Stadium, 4201 N. Dale Mabry Highway.

The testing site is intended to speed up coronavirus testing in residents who have symptoms and have preregistered through Hillsborough County’s call center. The drive-through testing site will be open Wednesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m or while supplies last.

The site is in the parking lot south of the stadium bordered by Tom McEwen Boulevard on the north, Dale Mabry Highway to the west and Himes Avenue to the east. Vehicles should enter from Dale Mabry Highway or Himes Avenue. The entry will be marked with signs.

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The site will be staffed by healthcare professionals in medical protective gear who are trained to test for coronavirus. Directional signage and law enforcement will direct residents through the testing site.

The drive-through testing site will remain open as long as there is a supply of collection kits available. About 200 tests are expected to be used every day.

Screening And Preregistration Required

  • Residents may get tested at Raymond James Stadium if they have been pre-screened and meet testing guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Florida Department of Health.
  • Residents also must be preregistered through the Hillsborough County Customer Service Center at 813-272-5900. The call center has health care staff on duty Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Residents who do not have a designated primary care physician or are uninsured are eligible for pre-screening and preregistration through the call center.

What To Bring

  • Residents must arrive in a personal vehicle. Due to the increased risk of contamination as well as current shortages of personal protective equipment, walkups are not permitted at this time.
  • Each person to be tested must be seated next to a working window.
  • Limit vehicle passengers to those needing a test.
  • Have a photo ID for all those being tested with name, date of birth and photo (can be Florida driver’s license, state-issued ID or passport).
  • Bring a printed copy of the testing confirmation email from the Hillsborough County Customer Service Center. Having this form with you will speed up the process.
  • Residents who are unable to print their confirmation number can provide a screenshot on their smart phone.
  • Residents will be asked to provide the following information:
  1. Full name
  2. Current address (where they are staying)
  3. Best phone number to reach the person to receive test results

What To Expect

  • You will be greeted by a healthcare provider in personal protective gear who will give you instructions.
  • You will be given a tissue to blow your nose. You will need to keep the tissue to dispose on your own.
  • A soft swab will be inserted deep into your nose to get the necessary sample. This may be slightly uncomfortable, but the test is quick and should take less than a minute.
  • Test results are not immediate. It may take several days. After the test, you will be given information on what to do while you await the results.
  • You will receive test results via the telephone number you gave at the time of the pre-screening.

The opening of the testing site was unanimously approved by the Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group on Monday. The Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group is made up of three county commissioners, the mayors from the cities of Plant City, Tampa and Temple Terrace, the sheriff and chairman of the School Board.

The drive-through testing site is being made available through the efforts of the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County, BayCare Health, Tampa General Hospital, AdventHealth, HCA Healthcare – West Florida Division and the City of Tampa.

Other Hillsborough County Directives

In addition to directives from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, these administrator orders are currently in place in Hillsborough County:

  • All public or private gatherings, including community, civic, public leisure, faith-based events, sporting events, concerts and any similar events that bring together more than 10 people in a single room or a single space at the same time are prohibited. This prohibition includes fitness centers, health clubs, private clubs and theaters, but does not include venues that provide essential goods or services such as grocery stores, hospitals, medical facilities, pharmacies, gas stations, bank/credit unions and shelters; nor does it include restaurants in which capacity restrictions are governed by the Governor’s Executive Order 20-68.
  • Any gathering of 10 or less people should have the capacity to provide individuals with 6 feet between each person.
  • Restaurants, private clubs or any other establishment may provide food or drink (alcoholic beverage sales are governed as provided by the Governor’s Executive Order 20-71) services for takeout, delivery or drive-through only 24 hours a day, subject to adherence to all sanitation and social distancing protocols for coronavirus in the Centers for Disease Control and Florida Department of Health guidelines. These establishments may operate their kitchens to provide delivery, drive-through or takeout services. Employees, janitorial personnel, contractors and delivery personnel will be allowed access to these businesses.

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