Coming Together to Fight COVID
PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla., June 26, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- With demand for COVID-19 testing continuing to grow, government and health care partners are coming together to establish a drive-thru test collection site at Tropicana Field in downtown St. Petersburg. Service for the public will begin on Monday, June 29.
Pinellas County, the City of St. Petersburg and Pinellas County Department of Health will work to provide logistical and public safety support for the site while BayCare Health System will provide the clinical teams to operate the service.
During the week of June 29, the site will operate Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and be closed Friday, July 3, in observance of Independence Day. In subsequent weeks, the site would operate Monday through Friday from 8 to 11 a.m.
"Working together within our local community is how we will get on the other side of this global pandemic," said St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman. "With both public and private partners, we will expand access to testing which is critical to beating this virus. My thanks to all our partners for everything they are doing for the health and safety of our citizens."
The location opens a week after BayCare closed its Pinellas drive-thru test collection site in the Carillon office complex in north St. Petersburg. The site, which had operated for 14 weeks, saw demand triple in one week, causing traffic problems for neighboring businesses and testing more than 700 in its last two days of operation.
"Testing is an important weapon in the fight against COVID-19," said Dr. UIyee Choe, director of the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County. "All those involved are committed to public health and know it is important that we have this testing capacity."
The group considered several sites across the county but ultimately chose to accept an offer from the Tampa Bay Rays to use parking lots at Tropicana Field. The site, while located in south county, provides easy access via I-275.
"We need to be sure we are doing all we can to provide Pinellas County residents the access they need to testing," said Pinellas County Administrator Barry A. Burton.
The drive-thru site will use Lot 2, on the west side of the stadium off 16th Street South. Cars will be directed to enter the drive-thru site from an entrance on 3rd Avenue South, which is west of 16th Street.
"We so appreciate that the Tampa Bay Rays embraced this idea and are joining us to serve the community," said Jim Cote, senior vice president for BayCare Ambulatory Services. "From the very beginning of this pandemic, we've known that a key requirement of fighting this virus would be making sure individuals have access to testing to confirm whether they have it."
Patients are encouraged to bring a referral from a medical provider and those who do not will be screened based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Testing will be provided on a first-come, first-serve basis with a daily cap based on supplies. Due to the continued challenges with COVID-19 testing supplies, the partners will regularly evaluate supply lines and adjust operations as needed.
BayCare also operates drive-thru sites in Polk and Pasco Counties and is supporting a drivethru site at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa that is also a partnership between government and health care providers.
For directions on the Tropicana Field testing entrance, click here.
For more information, visit BayCareNewsroom.org.
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SOURCE BayCare Health System