Jax Opening COVID-19 Test Site At Prime Osborn; Federal Site At TIAA Bank Field To Follow

Mar 19, 2020

Jacksonville will likely have two more COVID-19 testing sites by week’s end. 

The first site will be located at the Prime Osborn Convention Center and will be sponsored by the city in conjunction with Baptist Health. The site will  be available only to patients who have been pre-screened and who schedule an appointment through the Telescope Health app. It will open on Friday at 11 a.m.

“We've seen examples in other cities where they've not run a process like this, and it just didn't work,” Mayor Lenny Curry said. “Hours of lines with people unable to get tests done. Those that should be tested, you must have symptoms and you must meet certain criteria to get an appointment. This is to maximize the use of limited resources.”

The app will ask for a patients’ basic information and medical history, and then an over-the-phone visit will be required before approval for an in-person test. 

The test will cost $25 with a promo code, but Curry said the fee will be refunded for Duval County residents. 

When patients arrive at the site, they must provide their driver’s license, their own pen, and proof of their Telescope Health physician’s order in print or on their phone. 

The entire process will be completed without patients’ leaving their cars. They’ll drive up, take a swab test with help from a nurse, and drive off. Telescope Health officials said they want the process to take around 5 to 6 minutes. Patients could receive test results in the following three to five days, although hospital officials said it could take longer. 

The second site, set up by the federal government, will open at TIAA Bank Field this weekend at the earliest, and it will be open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. There will be no appointments needed, but medical professionals there will turn away people who don’t meet the criteria.

“This test facility will also be for individuals exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 - fever, dry cough, shortness of breath,” Curry said. “With the increase in testing, we fully expect the numbers of positive COVID-19 cases to increase.”

The two test sites join a drive-up site opened by Ascension St. Vincent’s Health Care earlier in the week. Area hospitals and doctor’s offices are also able to order tests, but they must be processed by state Department of Health labs or commercial labs like LabCorp or Quest. 

Curry said he is in contact with grocery stores in the city to make sure they are receiving daily shipments and that the stores will remain open throughout the pandemic. 

He also said he spoke with Florida Sen. Rick Scott to discuss putting a moratorium on utility, mortgage and rent payments and expanding unemployment insurance. 

“I've looked into this with our attorneys to see if I have the powers to emulate any of this, and I don't,” Curry said. “However, the federal government does.”

Read more from WJCT News: Local, State And National Coronavirus Coverage

Sky Lebron can be reached at slebron@wjct.org, 904-358-6319 or on Twitter at @SkylerLebron.