TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – As COVID-19 cases increase across the Tampa Bay Area, COVID-19 testing sites are also seeing a spike in demand.
Both Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties have re-opened testing sites in the last two days.READ MORE: Fourth Stimulus Check: Is Another Relief Payment Coming?
Hillsborough County officials say the two COVID-19 testing sites wait times are fluctuating, depending on demand.
Thomas Iovino, Pinellas County Health Department Spokesperson says “We’re concerned when demand rises. It means COVID-19 is back basically.”
Katja Miller, the Human Services Management Coordinator for Hillsborough County Emergency Management says “We’re happy to do this when it’s needed but it’s definitely something that we wanted to try to avoid.”
After local pharmacies started filling up with COVID-19 testing appointments again over the last couple weeks, Hillsborough County and Pinellas County officials made a quick decision.
“There are really long wait-times at the urgent care clinics and things of that nature and then two to three day waits for appointments at the local pharmacies, so we wanted to alleviate some pressure,” said Miller.
On Saturday, Hillsborough County opened two COVID-19 testing sites: one at Palm River Park Community Center and another at the Hillsborough County Code Enforcement Complex.
“We were originally expecting to 500 tests at each of our pop-up testing locations, but we ended up doing more than double that. We went over 2,000 on Saturday. We saw the demand yesterday higher as well, just above 1,600,” said Miller.READ MORE: Metro Atlanta 'Be Rich Campaign' Murals Inspire People To Give, Serve And Love
Pinellas County opened a COVID-19 testing site at the center for health equity on Monday.
“The last number I saw as of 10 o’ clock this morning was 200, so we’ve seen people come in really quickly,” said Iovino.
Miller says a lot of different people are showing up to the sites.
“We’re seeing small toddlers coming with their parents, we’re seeing pregnant women, we’re seeing elderly, the folks in their 20’s,” said Miller.
Over the next few weeks, Pinellas County Health Department Spokesperson, Thomas Iovino, says he will be monitoring the demand for testing.
“If the lines were to get longer, we certainly would ask people to be patient, we imagine the reason why you’re coming to us is because you do want your test so we will work as quickly as possible to get as many people tested,” said Iovino.
Hillsborough County Officials say they will keep track of COVID-19 cases and if demand for testing increases, they will consider opening up some other sites.MORE NEWS: Demetrius Hollins Sues Gwinnett Police, Former Chief And County In 2017 Brutality Case
Manatee County has also opened up another COVID-19 testing site at the Bradenton Area Convention Center and Pasco County is opening one on Tuesday at the Gulf View Square Mall in Port Richey.