Clearwater, Fla., (March 17, 2020) – Starting Wednesday, BayCare patients who have been instructed by their doctor to be tested for COVID-19 will be able to provide a specimen for testing without leaving their cars. BayCare Health System is transforming seven BayCare Urgent Care locations across West Central Florida into drive-thru testing centers for COVID-19.
The new service is expected to spark great public interest. But, at least initially, BayCare warns the service will be limited only to those BayCare patients who meet the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) testing guidelines. BayCare hopes to expand access in the future as testing supplies are available and can be deployed.
“This will allow us to test more people more efficiently and safely,” said Nishant Anand, MD, chief medical officer at BayCare. “As state and federal authorities make more testing supplies available, our capacity can increase. BayCare is committed to maximizing what tools we have to serve our communities and we hope to see this concept expand in the future.”
BayCare will operate the service seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Guidelines put forth by the CDC, recommend testing only for patients who have been screened by a medical professional as high-risk for COVID-19, either because of symptoms or travel histories or close contact with someone with COVID-19.
BayCare patients will be directed to the testing by their physician or by a physician from BayCareAnywhere, a telemedicine app that allows patients to obtain medical care via a smart phone, tablet or computer.
At each testing location, patients will quickly move through three stations while remaining in their car. Each patient, if they had not been already, also will be tested for routine respiratory viruses as well as COVID-19. BayCare team members, where appropriate, will wear personal protection equipment to insure safety for patients, team members, physicians and the community.
Results will be communicated to patients after they are processed by a laboratory, which takes anywhere from two to four days to receive. Positive results will be forwarded to the CDC for confirmation and shared with the Florida Department of Health, per state law.
Individuals who think they need to be tested for COVID-19 should first call their primary care physician or utilize BayCareAnywhere. To learn more, visit BayCareAnywhere.org.
• BayCare Urgent Care (Haines City) o 36245 U.S. Highway 27, Haines City, FL 33844
• BayCare Urgent Care (Carillon) o 900 Carillon Parkway, Suite. 106, St. Petersburg, FL 33716
• BayCare Urgent Care (New Port Richey) o 4821 U.S. Highway 19, New Port Richey, FL 34652
• BayCare Urgent Care (Countryside) o 3351 N. McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater, FL 33761
• BayCare Urgent Care (Tampa) o 3440 W. Dr. MLK Jr. Blvd., Suite 100, Tampa, FL 33607
• BayCare Urgent Care (New Tampa) o 17512 Dona Michelle Drive, Suite 5, Tampa, FL 33647
• BayCare Urgent Care (Bloomingdale) o 2442 Bloomingdale Ave., Valrico, FL 33596
Besides the impacted BayCare Urgent Care centers used as testing sites, BayCare is closing several BayCare Laboratory Patient Service Centers to create the resources to staff the testing sites. To find which BayCare Urgent Care centers and laboratories remain open to serve patients with non-COVID-19-related illnesses and injuries, visit baycare.org/coronavirus/closures.
About BayCare Health System
BayCare is a leading not-for-profit health care system that connects individuals and families to a wide range of services at 15 hospitals and hundreds of other convenient locations throughout the Tampa Bay and central Florida regions. Inpatient and outpatient services include acute care, primary care, imaging, laboratory, behavioral health, home care, and wellness. Our mission is to improve the health of all we serve through community-owned, health care services that set the standard for high-quality, compassionate care. For more information, visit www.BayCare.org.