Long lines continue at Tampa testing site on New Years Eve

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — People are spending the last day of 2021 lining up, not to see the ball drop, but to take a COVID-19 test.

“We were thinking about getting together with a family and they might be compromised if I carried it with them, so I just wanted to make sure I was responsible,” said Michele Alexander, a Tampa resident who has cold symptoms. .

She woke up at 5 a.m. to arrive at the City of Tampa’s new testing site at Al Lopez Park before it opened.

She is grateful that the city and county are reopening these sites.

“Oh, I think that’s wonderful. I tried to get into some pharmacies and they are booked until January 6 and that is not going to help us today,” Alexander said.

Kerry Dozier needs a test to return home to England on Sunday. He arrived 90 minutes before the Al Lopez Park test site opened at 7 a.m.

He was unable to obtain a PCR test elsewhere.

“If it’s not a test I can pass, I have at least half a day to find something else with the holidays approaching,” Dozier said.

The Al Lopez Park testing site will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week until further notice.

Hillsborough County hosts testing sites at the Lee Davis Community Resource Center and the Plant City Community Resource Center Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Beginning Sunday, the county-run site at Progress Village Park, which reached capacity at 3 p.m. Thursday, will again offer testing seven days a week.

Click here for a full list of available testing locations in the Bay Area.

Florida health officials say three out of four new infections are caused by the omicron variant.

Although Dr. Anthony Fauci says studies show omicron may cause less severe symptoms, it is more transmissible than previous variants.

At Tampa General Hospital, more than 80 patients are hospitalized with COVID-19, up from less than 30 two weeks ago.

“Even though the omicron ends up being much less severe if we see enough cases emerge, we’re going to see hospitalizations continue to increase,” said USF epidemiologist Dr. Jason Salemi.

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