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Jacksonville Councilman Dennis Calls For $5M In Emergency Funding For COVID Testing

Jacksonville District 9 City Councilman Garrett Dennis
Jacksonville District 9 City Councilman Garrett Dennis

With Jacksonville COVID-19 cases surging, District 9 City Councilman Garrett Dennis is calling for the city to resume publicly funding coronavirus testing.

On Wednesday the councilman’s office sent WJCT News a copy of legislation that Dennis is introducing that calls for the city to allocate $5 million in emergency funding to add three Jacksonville testing sites at the Shoppes at Sherwood in Northwest Jacksonville, the Lane Wiley Center on the Westside, and College Park Center in Arlington. 

The locations would be run by Agape Community Health Centerwith city oversight.

“As a community, we must make testing not only widely available, but also convenient with accessibility to public transportation. Identifying those infected will obviously prevent the continuous spread by requiring immediate quarantine.” Dennis said.


COVID-19 testing is available by appointment at a variety of locations around Jacksonville, including CVS, Quest Diagnostics and Walgreens, according to the Florida Department of Health, which has more information about getting tested in Jacksonville here. The Department of Health in Duval County also operates free walk-up COVID testingat Central Health Plaza weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 515 W. 6th St., Jacksonville, FL 32206. And a drive-through, self-pay testing site has opened in Neptune Beachat the site of the former KMart on Atlantic Boulevard. 

The Florida Department of Health (DOH) reported Duval County saw a record high of 8,308 new cases for the seven days leading up to this past Thursday.  That represents a rise of nearly 34% from the previous week.

Florida broke a previous record for current hospitalizations with 10,207 on Sunday, just one day after it recorded the most new daily COVID cases, 21,683, since the start of the pandemic.

Bill joined WJCT News in September of 2017 from The Florida Times-Union, where he served in a variety of multimedia journalism positions.