No doctor’s order needed for slated SWFL COVID-19 testing site

A new drive-through testing site is in the works for Southwest Florida. But this one has a twist.

Collier County Board of County Commissioners say the greyhound track in Bonita Springs is a possible location for a new drive-through coronavirus testing site Monday. It would be open to all adults, with no doctor’s order necessary.

”Information, information, information,” Commissioner Penny Taylor said. “That’s the key.”

The key to tracking COVID-19 is a mission Taylor says is now more critical than ever, as more counties in Florida begin to open back up.

”People are ready to feel the sea air and sand under their toes,” Taylor said. “If we don’t have enough tests, we can’t begin to understand how we’re going to meet this criteria.”

Taylor hopes the new drive-through testing site the state and Florida National Guard plan to bring to the area will help.

At the drive-through site, drivers will give swab samples to be tested. The big feature at this site is the lack of doctor’s order necessary to be tested.

“We know it’s not going to take any of our resources here,” Taylor said. “It’s going to be state run, state financed.”

Lines will likely be long and cause traffic, and Florida Department of Health in Collier County expects a large turnout.

”When we do the testing, it’s all done right then and there, instead of people going in and out of buildings, possibly infecting people,” said Kristine Hollingsworth with the county health department.

As we wait to hear if Gov. Ron DeSantis will lift the safer-at-home order or extend it.

“We’re all hoping the data says were flattening the curve; we’re going down the other side,” Taylor said.

County commissioners tell us the drive-through site is expected to open late next week, but we don’t know how many testing kits will be on location. We were told the site would likely have two drive-through lanes and a lane specifically for first responders.

More information will be released Tuesday at the commissioners meeting.

“We’ve never been here before, and I think that’s how I feel,” Taylor said. “There’s no road map here.”

Reporter:Gina Tomlinson
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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