BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — A new COVID-19 testing site is open for the public, testing hundreds of residents starting Thursday morning.
The new location at the Lynn Haven Sports Complex is one of three that will be open over the next month.
For residents like Michael McGaughey, getting a test as soon as possible is imperative, since he needs to test negative to go back to work,
“I had a bad cough and my boss, understandably, wanted to be safe than sorry,” he said, adding that just getting a test in the first place has been extremely difficult. the closest I could find was going to be about over a couple weeks.”
He’s one of many with similar stories.
“It took me well over ten days to get to any testing site,” said Donna Kasper, a Lynn Haven Resident who tested positive two weeks ago, and is trying to get a follow-up test. “That was really kind-of scary and frustrating.”
Understanding that need and heightened demand for testing in the area, Bay County leaders went to the state for help. Through CARES Act funding and state suppliers, help has been made available for residents through three additional mobile testing sites, which will be able to test up to 500 people per day at each site.
“We will have the capacity to test up to 1500 people per day for up to a month,” said Valerie Sale, Bay County Public Information Officer. “We’re hoping that that broad testing capacity is going to help us get this situation under control.”
The sites will be open daily in Lynn Haven, Panama City Beach and Callaway for the next month. They are being manned by “Walk-On Clinic,” an Orlando based company.
“The demand is there,” said Dr. Bhavin Patel, Clinical Director for “Walk-On Clinic. “We’re glad that we can help the need of the county and the state.”
The free testing will be available to adults with a valid photo I.D. by appointment, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., and on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. and 6p.m..
The Lynn Haven site is located at the Lynn Haven Sports Complex. The Panama City Beach site will be located at Frank Brown Park and is opening to the public on Monday at 7 a.m.. Details for the Callaway location have not yet been released.
Clinic staff said patients should receive their results within three to five business days; residents say it’s a relief.
“Opening up new sites is super important right now,” Kasper said.
“I was trying to hurry up and get this done so I can go back to work,” McGaughey said.
Both said although the line for testing seemed daunting, it went by quicker than expected and the testing process was speedy.
To make an appointment, click here.