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Walk-up COVID-19 testing site opens in Immokalee Sunday, raises questions

There’s a big push to get more people tested in Southwest Florida. Starting Sunday, people living in Immokalee can walk up and get a COVID-19 test.

Organizers with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers say their community is particularly vulnerable when it comes to COVID-19.

“We live overcrowded because that’s the only way to save money. So poverty basically brings us into this vulnerable situation,” said Gerardo Reyes Chavez, organizer of the Coalition.

But help is on the way: A walk-up testing site where anyone can get a test, regardless of symptoms and no doctor’s note needed.

While the Coalition For Immokalee Workers says this is a victory for their community, it also leads to new questions and concerns.

“What happens if I test positive and I need to isolate? What is the plan there,” asked Reyes Chavez. “Right now, it’s literally impossible for workers to think about the idea of isolating if you test positive. So that’s a scary question for many people.”

Kristine Hollingsworth with the Department of Health Collier County says there’s a plan for that.

“We do know that there is an issue of, perhaps, people not having their own room. And we do have those options in place through our county to ensure that people are properly isolated and that they will get the proper care,” she said.

As for if people need to be hospitalized, Hollingsworth says, Immokalee¬†does not have a brick and mortar hospital. However, we do have hospital bed availability in the community where patients could be transported if need be.”

The DoH will also follow up with contract tracing so they can help stop any spread of the virus.

Social Distancing will be enforced by marks on the ground spaced six feet apart. Hand washing and sanitizing stations will also be spaced throughout the line. Tents and fans will also help keep people cool.

Reporter:Veronica Marshall
Writer:Briana Harvath
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