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First Brevard drive-thru COVID-19 testing facility to open next week

Testing site capable of 500 tests a day opens April 7

A NHS worker is tested at a drive through coronavirus testing site in a car park on Wednesday April 1, 2020. (Yui Mok/PA via AP)
A NHS worker is tested at a drive through coronavirus testing site in a car park on Wednesday April 1, 2020. (Yui Mok/PA via AP) (Press Association)

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – The availability of COVID-19 testing in Brevard could expand rapidly as a new drive-through facility capable of testing 500 people a day is set to open next Tuesday.

The Florida Department of Health on Tuesday announced a drive-through testing operation was opening in Brevard, reports News 6 partner Florida Today.

On Tuesday, a new site run by OMNI Healthcare will join it, OMNI Health announced in a Thursday press release.

Drive-through testing sites have opened across the country as a way to test people for the virus while minimizing contact. Patients roll down their windows to receive a nose swab without leaving their cars.

If OMNI successfully pulls off the opening, Brevard's testing numbers could shoot up quickly. As of Wednesday morning, only 669 patients in Brevard had been tested by Florida Department of Health labs. (Though Private labs have tested roughly four to six times that, according to Brevard County Commission Chair Bryan Lober.)

[COVID-19: Interactive map shows Florida coronavirus cases]

If all goes well with the new Omni facility, Deligdish said he hopes to open two more sites that could also each handle 500 more people per day. The plan is ambitious, but Deligdish insisted he and his colleagues have the connections and experience to get it done.

“This is stuff we do every day,” he said.

Testing criteria at OMNI's location will be less strict than the Florida Department of Health's guidelines. Testing will be offered to patients who meet the following criteria:

  • All OMNI Health and Parrish Medical Center employees at risk
  • Anyone over the age of 60
  • Anyone over the age of 45 with at least one chronic condition

FDOH screening appointments must be scheduled ahead of time by calling 321-454-7141 for screening and registration.

Deligdish said OMNI is offering tests to symptom-free patients because evidence shows many who carry the disease show no signs, calling other agencies' guidelines "asinine."

Patients will have to call ahead to schedule testing, which will be offered from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day of the week.

The test will likely cost uninsured patients $70, Deligdish said, plus $50 for collection and $25 for the results. Other patients will be billed through insurance.

Several private insurers, including Florida Blue, Aetna and UnitedHealthcare, have said they won't charge members for COVID-19 testing.

Test results should be available in 24-36 hours, Deligdish said, adding that OMNI has “established commitments from large laboratories that are currently doing thousands of tests per day.”

Bailey Gallion is the business and development reporter for FLORIDA TODAY. Contact Gallion at 321-242-3786 or bgallion@floridatoday.com.

Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon contributed to this report.

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