Stormy weather impacting COVID-19 test sites, result times

Reporter: Michael Hudak Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Nurse in a hospital. Credit: WINK News

With the surge in coronavirus cases, there is also a surge in testing, but those swabs are harder to come by. Believe it or not, it’s related to potential impacts from Fred.

Collier County sent out a press release Tuesday saying it was expanding testing. But the site is drive-thru only, and if there’s a threat of lightning or dangerous weather, availabilities will be cancelled.

Fortunately, multiple different testing sites in Lee and Collier counties say they plan to stay open during the potential storm. Most of their facilities are inside and will only close if the weather is so dangerous that it’s unsafe for staff to drive there. That call will be made around Saturday morning. Collier is confident that this storm will have zero impact on their testing capability.

“We have testing here at our Naples campus Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.,” said Kristine Hollingsworth, public information officer for the Florida Department of Health in Collier County. “We do not anticipate any issues due to Tropical [Depression] Fred as of right now.”

It is predicted that Fred, likely to be a tropical storm by Saturday, should skate past Southwest Florida over the weekend. The only site currently offering rapid testing in Southwest Florida is a drive-thru at FDOH-Collier, located at 3339 E. Tamiami Trail in Naples, which means people will have to wait to go to an appointment after they schedule it and then wait three to five business days for their test results anywhere else.

While this potential severe weather may not halt our ability to do anything, it will certainly make things more inconvenient and more time-consuming. And with the delta variant’s rapid spread, every passing moment is crucial

“We have physician testimonials,” Hollingsworth said. “We have multiple social media platforms which we’re working with our community partners to put information out on. We are also on… we have several radio spots in which we are advertising the benefits of the vaccine. Remember that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and it is effective.”

The Moderna vaccine is readily available at FDOH-Collier Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with no appointment required.


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