Local health care providers are offering free covid-19 screenings through the Columbia County and Hamilton County health departments, while the local VA Medical Center is offering testing to veterans who are symptomatic, as well as those who are scheduled for certain medical procedures. The VA is also testing patients that are being admitted to their inpatient units, community living center, and other inpatient resident programs.
The Columbia and Hamilton County health departments will offer free drive-thru covid-19 testing during the remainder of June as well as several days in July. The testing will be done contingent upon the weather. No appointment is needed, but no walk-ups will be permitted.
The testing is available for anyone that wants to get screened. No signs or symptoms are necessary to be tested. Children can be tested with parental consent.
Individuals will be asked to provide their personal contact information for the screening and will be provided with after-testing instructions and information on how to obtain test results on-line.
People seeking the screening will then be routed to a health care provider who will give instructions.
The testing is conducted by health care professionals in medical protective gear who are trained to test for covid-19. People seeking testing are to remain in their vehicles and each person to be tested should be seated next to a working window. Officials ask that individuals who want the testing try to limit the number of individuals in their vehicles to only those who need to be tested.
There will be wait times so individuals should prepare by having a full tank of gas and drive a vehicle that has a working air conditioner. (There are no public bathrooms available at the testing locations.)
Most tests will be with a nasal swab, which may be slightly uncomfortable; however, the test is quick and should take less than a minute. Antibody tests will no be available. After being tested, individuals are asked to continue monitoring for symptoms and practice social distancing.
Test results will not be immediately available and could take up to three - five days. Anyone who was tested will receive test results via the telephone number given at the time of screening. (Calling to check on results will not expedite the process.)
Screening dates and locations
• Today (Saturday, June 27), 9 a.m. -11 a.m., at Wilson Park, 232 NE Hillsboro St.; Lake City
• Tuesday, June 30, 9 a.m. - 11 a.m., at Wilson Park, 232 NE Hillsboro St.; Lake City
• Thursday, July 2, 9 a.m. - 11 a.m., at the Hamilton County Health Department, 209 SE Central Ave.; Jasper
• Tuesday, July 7, 9 a.m. - 11 a.m., at the Fort White Community Center, State Road 47; Fort White
• Thursday, July 9, 9 a.m. - 11 a.m., at the Hamilton County Health Department, 209 SE Central Ave., Jasper
• Saturday, July 11, 9 a.m. - 11 a.m., at Wilson Park, 232 NE Hillsboro St., Lake City
Anyone wanting to be tested must be in line by 11 a.m., as the screening will be closed to additional vehicles at this time.
Testing at the Lake City VA Medical Center, 619 S. Marion Ave., will take place 8 a.m.- 10 a.m., Monday - Friday, by appointment only for patients that are scheduled to undergo certain procedures.
Veterans who are sick or have symptoms of respiratory illness (fever, cough or shortness of breath) should call their health care provider or the VISN 8 Clinical Contact Center at 1-877-741-3400 before visiting the facilities.