UPDATE TO THIS STORY: Effective Monday, BayCare Health System is consolidating its drive-thru COVID-19 test collection sites to high volume locations and to provide geographic access.
You can access the changes and locations BY CLICKING HERE
BAY AREA, Fla. — BayCare Health announced on Friday changes to its drive-thru coronavirus testing sites to "ensure that patients who are most at risk are the ones being tested," according to the company.
- Drive-thru COVID-19 testing at BayCare
- CDC guidelines for COVID-19 testing
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BayCare Health began offering drive-thru testing for coronavirus on Wednesday. The service is being conducted at seven BayCare Urgent Care locations across the Bay area.
The changes are in response to limited testing supplies and patient patterns seen since the sites opened.
The changes include:
- Hours at the testing sites will be reduced - they will only be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Screening criteria will be "slightly narrowed" to confirm that patients currently are experiencing symptoms. Previously, patients had been asked if they had experienced symptoms within the past 14 days
- Physicians referring patients for testing must fill out a new form that makes explicit the need for the patient to currently be showing symptoms
“We need to be testing symptomatic individuals – those with fever, shortness of breath, a cough -- and reserving our limited supplies for those cases,” said Dr. Nishant Anand, chief medical officer for BayCare Health System. “Every asymptomatic patient we test means one less swab is available to those more likely to test positive.”
Officials also said they are not anticipating any costs to patients, assuming they have insurance, but that government resources may be used for those that do not.
At least initially, BayCare warns the service will be limited only to those BayCare patients who meet the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention testing guidelines. BayCare hopes to expand access in the future as testing supplies are available and can be deployed.
"This will allow us to test more people more efficiently and safely," said Anand. "As state and federal authorities make more testing supplies available, our capacity can increase. BayCare is committed to maximizing what tools we have to serve our communities and we hope to see this concept expand in the future."
Guidelines put forth by the CDC, recommend testing only for patients who have been screened by a medical professional as high-risk for COVID-19, either because of symptoms or travel histories or close contact with someone with COVID-19.
At each testing location, patients will quickly move through three stations while remaining in their car. Each patient, if they had not been already, also will be tested for routine respiratory viruses as well as COVID-19.
BayCare team members, where appropriate, will wear personal protection equipment to insure safety for patients, team members, physicians and the community.
Individuals who think they need to be tested for COVID-19 should first call their primary care physician or utilize BayCareAnywhere. To learn more, visit BayCareAnywhere.org.
• BayCare Urgent Care (Carillon)
900 Carillon Parkway, Suite. 106, St. Petersburg, FL 33716
• BayCare Urgent Care (New Port Richey)
4821 U.S. Highway 19, New Port Richey, FL 34652
• BayCare Urgent Care (Countryside)
3351 N. McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater, FL 33761
• BayCare Urgent Care (Tampa)
3440 W. Dr. MLK Jr. Blvd., Suite 100, Tampa, FL 33607
• BayCare Urgent Care (New Tampa)
17512 Dona Michelle Drive, Suite 5, Tampa, FL 33647
• BayCare Urgent Care (Bloomingdale)
2442 Bloomingdale Ave., Valrico, FL 33596
• BayCare Urgent Care (Haines City)
36245 U.S. Highway 27, Haines City, FL 33844