Changes to COVID-19 testing locations, hours in Lee County

Published: Updated:
A long line of cars at a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site in Fort Myers. Credit: WINK News

A decrease in demand for COVID-19 testing is changing how testing is being administered in Lee County: Instead of going to the Lee County Sports Complex for a test, you can go to the Florida Department of Health location on Michigan Avenue in Fort Myers, as the facility there is expanding its hours.

The sports complex is no longer on the table because FDOH-Lee County says there aren’t enough people showing up for tests and spring training is supposed to start soon, so testing is being handed over to the Fort Myers FDOH site at 3920 Michigan Ave. In the past few months, the demand for tests has lessened as the surge in omicron variant cases has fallen.

There was previously no option for testing after 5 p.m. on weekdays, and most sites were closed on the weekends. FDOH believes the drive-thru site on Michigan Avenue will be able to fully absorb the volume from the Lee County Sports Complex and is expanding its hours on weekdays and offering tests seven days a week.

Dr. Antonio Gonzalez, who works at the Community Medical Center located at 214 S. First St. in Immokalee, had an idea of why sites in Lee County are seeing fewer people in a rush for tests.

“Collier County and Lee County… they’re very close to each other,” Gonzalez said. “And the numbers of infections have decreased. Understand that, right now, we are seeing probably one or two COVID cases in a week, which is pretty good. I think we are having a break from infection right now, and I think it’s gonna stay like that for a while.”

Gonzalez spoke to WINK News months ago, saying his health care facility needed help when it was seeing a record number of COVID-19 cases every day. He believes part of the low turnout for testing now is partly due to more people getting vaccinated. The other part is that a great many people got sick at the same time, which could mean a big break in the pandemic.

“More people are getting, you know, more thoughtful about the vaccine, and more people are getting vaccinated nowadays,” Gonzalez said. “So you know, about 70% to 80% of the patients that I asked if they got vaccine… they already got the vaccine, so that is also going to help us to take a break with this. And maybe, probably one day, we’re going to be COVID-free.”

Starting Monday, you can get tested at the FDOH site at 3920 Michigan Ave. from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays. and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. To schedule an appointment, you can visit this link.

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