COVID-19 drive-thru testing to launch in Manatee County starting Thursday

Manatee County to close public boat ramps, Beer Can Island beginning on Thursday

BRADENTON, Fla. (WWSB) - Manatee County officials announced during a meeting on Tuesday that a “limited” drive-thru testing site is opening this week.

Manatee County Public Safety Director Jacob Saur says along with the Department of Health in the county they have been collecting best practices from other communities that have opened their own sites recently.

County commissioner Vanessa Baugh says she’s surprised by the small number of people tested in the county so far.

“I also want to point out that as we ramp up drive-thru testing sites we should expect more positives to come through,” said Saur.

According to the Florida Department of Health as of 11:38 a.m. on Tuesday, 138 tests have been conducted in Manatee County with 116 negative results, 16 confirmed cases and 7 pending.

“I don’t know how you guys can do what you need to do if you don’t have the material necessary,” said Baugh.

Saur says they received 600 specimen collection kits this week. He says there’s a scarcity of the kits so they don’t know when more will come.

“Some went to Orange County for the federal testing site, and some testing sites there. Others went to all three of our local hospitals. And then the rest is designated for a drive-thru testing site set up by Florida Department of Health Manatee,” said Saur.

The drive-thru testing site opens Thursday, March 26 at the Bradenton Area Convention Center for patients with a prescription and will run through Sunday, March 29. There are 200 specimen collection kits for the four-day event.

The Department of Health will schedule 50 appointments for each of the four days. Specimens collected at the site will be sent to labs for testing. Visitors to the collection site must have a prescription to be tested for COVID-19 and have made an appointment in advance with Manatee County Health Department. To make an appointment, call 941-748-0747.

Everyone who arrives at the drive-thru must:

  • Be in a vehicle. No walk-up patients will be seen.
  • Drivers must remain in their vehicle at all times.
  • Drivers must present a photo ID and a prescription for specimen collection, written by their health care provider. (Name on ID and prescription must match.)

Anyone in Manatee County who believes they may have COVID-19 should call the Manatee Health Line at 941-242-6649 BEFORE calling 911 or visiting a hospital emergency room.

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