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More seniors signing up for voluntary testing in The Villages

Premier Medical Associates offering testing to residents and staff at Sumter Senior Living and other assisted living centers who want it

SUMTER COUNTY, Fla. – Pat and Don Cupitt were one of the first residents to sign up for the voluntary testing being held at Sumter Senior Living in The Villages.

They say they were thankful they didn’t have to go far to get it. And say as far as they know, their Medicare coverage covers it since they didn’t have to pay any money when they took the test.

"It doesn't really hurt, it's just uncomfortable," said Pat Cupitt. "It gives you peace of mind."

"The biggest and hardest thing is to wait the 12 hours for the results," said Don Cupitt. "So it really gives us a lot of confidence. We don't know anyone not getting one of the tests."

The voluntary tests are some of the first to be offered to people who are not showing any signs or symptoms of the contagious virus and could determine if there is any community spread among potential asymptomatic individuals.

Jamie Lillard is with Sumter Senior living and says they jumped at the chance to offer this private testing to everyone here.

"During this difficult time we are being proactive and testing not only our residents but also our team members," said Lillard. "Surprisingly, we had a lot of people who were grateful they were excited thanking us for providing this to them."

While there have been no known positive cases at Sumter Senior Living, many here still want to take the voluntary test just to be sure.

"It's important for me to be tested," said 79-year-old Jackie Dewyea.

Dewyea said she is a cancer survivor and in the high-risk category because of her age and health. She said she is thankful she was able to get screened for COVID-19, even though she doesn’t have any symptoms of the virus.

"The unknown is scarier than knowing absolutely," said Dewyea. "Once you know something you can start to do something about it."

The tests are being offered by Premier Medical Associates, who have notified all the assisted living facilities and nursing homes in The Villages and surrounding Sumter County.

They even had someone available for counseling, for any residents feeling anxious or depressed or isolated because of the pandemic and the stay at home order in place to keep them safe.

"Not only is the testing difficult for them, but there is also the emotional part," said Susan Roy, lead therapist with PMA. "Is it going to come up positive? Is it negative? Is everybody doing it? There's a little bit of paranoia - who is doing it, who's not doing it, so being able to calm everybody as we're doing that."

Sumter Senior Living is the second senior living facility in The Villages to sign up for the voluntary COVID-19 testing, and they are scheduled to do more than 300 tests.

Buffalo Crossings Healthcare and Rehabilitation in The Villages was the first and offered 250 tests to patients and healthcare workers on Tuesday and Wednesday. Buffalo Crossings also plans to offer voluntary testing to its residents and staff members at it’s assisted living facility next week.

Premier Medical Associates confirms they will also be offering these voluntary tests at both Elan senior living campuses next week.