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COVID-19 testing
OPEN WIDE — A Florida National Guard medic swabs a staff member at a Miami nursing home as part of a COVID-19 test. PHOTO COURTESY FLORIDA NATIONAL GUARD

With the recent spike in new COVID-19 cases, local health officials are doing their best to continue maintaining sufficient capacity at area emergency rooms for genuine medical emergencies.

The public can help by not going to the hospital to get a COVID test. Instead, Volusia County officials along with the county’s two primary hospital providers, AdventHealth and Halifax Health, are urging residents to go to one of the community testing centers around the county to avoid diverting time and resources away from emergency room patients in need of urgent care.

“Hospitals aren’t testing centers. That’s not their primary purpose,” said Volusia County Interim Public Protection Director Mark Swanson. “Emergency rooms are full of sick and critically ill people who need immediate – in many cases, lifesaving – care. No one should want to go to the hospital if it isn’t absolutely necessary. There are better and more appropriate places to get tested.”

There are multiple test sites in Volusia County, including locations at Daytona International Speedway, Dewey O. Boster Park in Deltona, the New Smyrna Beach city gym and Health Department offices in Daytona Beach and Orange City. Additional locations include AdventHealth Centra Care in Orange City and MedExpress in DeLand. Officials point out that other urgent care clinics, personal care physicians and medical offices, pharmacies and self-testing kits also are options.

The Florida Department of Health’s COVID testing locator database can be accessed by clicking on the link below:

https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/testing-sites/

“Emergency rooms are just that – a place to treat medical emergencies,” said Swanson. “Naturally, anyone experiencing severe COVID-19 symptoms should seek immediate care. But visiting the emergency room without a true need risks overwhelming the emergency care system that’s designed for those who truly need it. And that’s what we’re trying to prevent.”

Residents are asked for their patience and understanding, as community testing sites are experiencing increased demand and wait times. Swanson noted that the County is looking at options for increasing testing availability.

— Volusia County Activity Project Manager/Community Information Gary Davidson

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