First of three new COVID-19 testing sites opens in Bay County
LYNN HAVEN, Fla. (WJHG) - The first of three new drive-through COVID-19 testing sites opened Thursday in Bay County.
“My daughter, she works at Gulf Coast Medical Center, and she’s got COVID-19 and so I’m being tested,” Bay County Resident Pat Hulse said.
In its first day, the Lynn Haven location was completely booked.
“Everybody’s talking about waiting months to get it done, or weeks to get it done, and I thought you know if they set this up and they’re going out of their way to do this and be so kind with all these medical workers- we’re thankful for them,” Bay County Resident Kenneth Pate said.
The county contracted Walk-On Clinic to provide drive-through testing services for at least the next month.
“The next site to open up is going to be at Frank Brown Park out at Panama City Beach- that starts on Monday. And then the final site will be in Callaway- we’re still working out the details on that,” Bay County’s Public Information Officer Valerie Sale said.
Once all three sites are up and running, they’ll have the capacity to test up to 1,500 people per day, combined.
“To me this is kind of a rural area so this many people concerned tells you something,” Walk-On Clinic’s Clinical Director Dr. Bhavan Patel said.
Each site will test up to 500 people per day, more than double what some other testing sites are able to do, and people should receive their results within three to five days.
“One thing it will do is it will help those people that are positive to be able to stay at home, to stay away from family members within their home to slow that spread. The other thing it will do- it will help us to be able to focus on those positive cases we’re getting, the contact tracing and the testing of persons with symptoms here at the health department,” Public Information Officer for the Florida Department of Health in Bay County Heather Kretzer said.
The new sites come after previous ones were inundated with long lines and wait lists.
“Over the past two weeks we’ve had anywhere from about 330 all the way up to 830 tests results that have been returned on a daily basis. So we’re definitely seeing an increase in that testing,” Kretzer said- an increase that officials say is crucial to controlling the spread of the virus.
These three new sites now bring the total to nine testing sites in Bay County (including two CVS pharmacies).
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