FL public universities open campuses for community testing of COVID-19

Florida A&M University in Tallahassee. Credit: FAMU's Facebook

During the coronavirus crisis, Florida is expanding its efforts to test more individuals in communities statewide, by offering testing sites at some public universities.

Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, and Orlando’s University of Central Florida have opened its campuses to offer testing sites for those who are experiencing symptoms of the COVID-19 respiratory disease or meet other criteria.

UCF opened its drive-thru site earlier this month through a partnership with Aventus Biolabs, a testing lab owned by a healthcare company that has headquarters in Orlando.

“It is critically important that we expand testing for COVID-19 in Central Florida and throughout the state,” State Rep. Anna Eskamani, an Orlando Democrat, said in a written statement.

“I am thrilled to see this partnership come to life and know it will bring us one step closer to overcoming this pandemic.” Eskamani was responsible for connecting the university with Aventus, UCF said in a press release.

The lab offers up to 250 tests a day and patients are required to schedule an appointment.

FAMU’s testing site, located in the parking lot of Bragg Memorial Stadium, will begin accepting walk-ins and appointments daily when it launches Saturday.

Organizers serving the Southside community include FAMU leaders in public health and the Bond Community Health Center, which plans to conduct a maximum of 200 daily tests.

The free-testing site is made possible through the Florida Department of Health and the Florida Department of Management Services, FAMU said in a news release.

According to the university, the site will operate for 14 consecutive days from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.