As coronavirus continues to spread throughout the Sunshine State, local medical groups are setting up shop to offer drive-thru COIVD-19 testing.
There is one major caveat: health officials are pleading that residents do not just show up to testing sites and flood medical professionals.
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To streamline the flow of people who want to be tested, the company has set up a call center where people will be screened with a series of questions.
Premier Medical Associates has 12 people screening calls for people who want to be tested. Lina Cohen, Premier Medical Associates vice president of patient care, calls the group the “corona team.”
After being screened by phone, patients who qualify are scheduled for a televisit to limit the amount of sick people they have in the office.
Only a portion of the people who have online visits are scheduled for a test.
They take the most urgent cases first.
“If you are a young person who just wants to be tested and we have a 75-year-old senior citizen, with other conditions, and presenting symptoms we’re going to test that patient first,” Cohen said.
If you would like to be considered for a test, can call Premier Medical Associates at 352-259-2159.
If you do not qualify to be tested at a drive-up facility, health officials say you should not try to show up at these testing sites anyway. This is counter productive to ensuring an efficient flow of medical care and could impede the seriously ill for receiving the attention they need.
There are other resources for those who do not qualify to be tested. Florida Blue is providing a free, 24/7 bilingual helpline to provide emotional support. The toll-free line can be reached at 833-848-1762.
FEMA also released a statement on what the federal organization plans to do to get people tested, treated and on their way to coronavirus recovery.
“Community-Based Testing Sites (CBTS) will be state-managed and locally executed operations integrated with broader state public health services which may require varying levels of federal personnel support. HHS remains the lead federal agency for the management of the COVID-19 response," according to the FEMA News Desk. “HHS Regions will provide CBTS with technical medical expertise, employ supplemental medical personnel, and manage the delivery of testing supplies to State-designated logistics sites. FEMA’s role has been assisting HHS with planning, coordination, logistics, and outreach with supporting states to identify sites and operational requirements.”
FEMA also said the Trump Administration is working on developing a website for Americans to visit to determine whether a test is needed and, if so, facilitate testing at a nearby location.
It is not clear if FEMA will bring one of these CBTS locations to Central Florida, of if a CBTS is the same as a drive-up testing location. News 6 has reached out to health officials for clarification.
This is a developing story. Stay with News 6 for updates.