New Marion County COVID-19 testing site open, County leaders support testing initiative

Published: Aug. 11, 2020 at 12:40 PM EDT
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OCALA, Fla. (WCJB) - COVID-19 Testing is more accessible to Residents in Marion County.

The Marion County Department of Health moved its drive-thru testing operation to the Southeastern Livestock Pavilion on Tuesday. This move allows the county to accommodate more people by eliminating appointments; testing will now be on a first-come, first-served basis.

“The appointment-based process allowed us to avoid long wait times that people using many other testing sites in the state experienced,” said Florida Department of Health in Marion County Administrator Mark Lander. “However, we routinely had more than 100 people not show up for their appointments, which meant people who wanted testing were unable to get timely appointments. It also led to a waste of resources when we had to schedule and then cancel more than 100 lab orders each day. We will be able to be more efficient with our resources this way, while testing everyone who truly desires to be tested.”

Testing will be held each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m..People who would like to be tested can line their vehicles up starting at 7:30 a.m. on each testing day. Testing will run through 10 a.m. or until the day’s available samples are all used, whichever comes first.

Residents are asked to bring a valid photo ID if they want to be tested, while minors will only be tested if they are accompanied by a parent or a legal guardian. Only people who are being tested should be in the vehicle, with the exception of parents, guardians or caregiver.

Marion County Commission Chairman Kathy Bryant sent this statement to TV20 in regards to the new testing process, “Marion County is happy to provide this location to the DOH - Marion. Along with the DOH, our top priority is the health and safety of our citizens, as well as best utilizing valuable time and resources. As the DOH has seen up to 100 of COVID-19 appointments a day end up being no-shows, we are confident this first come- first served process will provide better usage of time and resources for those needing to be tested.”

Marion County saw an increase of 96 positive COVID-19 cases overnight. The Florida Health Department shows 6,668 cases in the county since March.

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