PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – With the new year approaching, Tampa Bay health officials say testing sites are seeing a major influx of residents looking to get tested.
“We’ve been seeing long wait times people can expect to wait at least an hour because of this increase in demand,” said Audrey Stasko with the Florida Department of Health in Citrus County.READ MORE: Florida Bill Would Reduce Prison Time, Save Millions In Taxpayer Dollars
The holidays are known for being the busiest time of the year, but 2020 might top some of the busiest when it comes to long lines and wait times. “People obviously want to take the time to go get tested so they can protect their loved ones before they gather for the holidays,” said Tom Lovino with the Pinellas County Health Department.
Officials in both Pinellas and Citrus Counties tell CW44 News At 10, the number of tests at their larger testing sites have been peaking just before the holidays. For those looking to ring in the new year safely, it’s no exception. “People are definitely taking advantage of it to the point where we have had to actually close down the testing location early because we’ve run out of tests, said Lovino. Stasko says, “We start at 7:30 a.m. and we have been meeting that capacity within the hour.”
Just south of Citrus County, The Department of Health in Pasco County announced they have received 3,500 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and are coordinating with Pasco County Emergency Management to distribute the vaccine to those 65 and older.
In a press release late Thursday morning, The Florida Department of Health in Pasco County (DOH-Pasco) announced they have received 3,500 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and are coordinating with Pasco County Emergency Management to distribute the vaccine to those 65 and older.
A drive-through vaccination clinic has been set up at Gulf View Square Mall, located at 9409 U.S. Hwy. 19 in Port Richey. Please note, vaccinations are by REGISTRATION ONLY, and you MUST register ahead of time by visiting Pasco County’s Vaccine Distribution website.
Beginning Thursday, additional slots will be available for Saturday and Sunday by visiting the above referenced Vaccine Distribution website. Be advised that appointments fill up quickly, so if you are not able to register for those dates, check back frequently as the County will continually update the website as more appointment days/times are added.READ MORE: Stimulus Check Update: When Might Your $1,400 Economic Relief Payment Arrive?
Pasco County officials plan to open additional vaccination sites in the coming weeks as more doses are received. Due to the limited amount of vaccine available, registration will be required for those sites, as well.
Additionally, DOH-Pasco is working directly with the leaders of 55+ communities throughout Pasco County to bring the vaccine to those residents over 65 and choose to be vaccinated. County officials are planning ahead when additional supplies become available and are creating a calendar to schedule future vaccinations.
Residents of long-term care and nursing facilities are being vaccinated through a state agreement with local pharmacies.
The county says they are encouraged that so many people in Pasco County are seeking out the vaccine and ask for your patience as they work through the process of vaccinating more than 130,000 of Pasco’s 65 and older community.
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