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Department of Health expands COVID testing in Collier County

Florida Department of Health has announced that it will be adding new testing sites in  Collier County, including one in Golden Gate, two off Tamiami Trail in East Naples and one on Marco Island at Veterans Park.

The increase in testing sites is said to have led to an increase in positive cases, which are at 14.8% Tuesday.

But some of the people in Southwest Florida are doing their part to make sure the virus doesn’t spread. “We have not seen our grandchildren in Chicago since Christmas, and our ones that live right here not since the first of March because we all take it very seriously,” Jane Frucci said.

Frucci also makes sure to wear her mask at the grocery store to stay protected from COVID-19.

But Frucci believes there’s still a lot left unlearned about the virus. “I think there’s a lot we still don’t know,” she said.

But Frucci does believe new testing sites in Collier County, where you can walk right up and receive a test, could help us learn more and therefore slow the spread of the coronavirus. Many health officials believe this too.

“The more testing we have, we’re also going to get those asymptomatic cases out of the community and have those who are asymptomatic isolate, so they can better flatten our curve,” said Kristine Hollingsworth with the Florida Department of Health in Collier County.

So, starting this week when FDOH opens the new testing sites, people will be lining up, much like they currently do in the COVID-19 hot spot of Immokalee. “Some of those other areas people are living closer together in smaller homes, and I think that’s affecting them as well. Plus, they’re going to work and coming home, so there’s a lot on their shoulders,” Frucci said.

Chase Cessna is excited about new testing sites because he believes he had COVID-19 back in February before there were widely public testing sites available. “I’ve had the flu before, and it was similar, I felt like, but it was different. Just from the body aches and the dry cough,” Cessna said.

While hospitals in Collier County say they aren’t overwhelmed just yet, people here agree that more testing is helpful. “If they want to track it better, testing would be good,” Cessna said.

So far, Naples has the highest number of cases with over 3,000, and Immokalee is second with more than 1,500.

The testing sites continue to take appointments for next week, but appointments are already booked at the DOH-Collier site. The others are first-come-first-serve.

Reporter:Gina Tomlinson
Writer:Drew Hill
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