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Bay County offering daily coronavirus testing

Post Date:07/28/2020 11:00 AM

 FROM BAY COUNTY

The first of three new drive-through, by-appointment COVID-19 testing sites in Bay County is set to open to the general public at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 30 at the Lynn Haven Sports Park, located at 2201 Recreation Drive, Lynn Haven. A second site will open at 7 a.m. Monday at Frank Brown Park, located at 16200 Panama City Beach Parkway on Panama City Beach and the third site will be located in Callaway, with details announced as they are finalized.

Each site will test up to 500 people per day for the novel coronavirus COVID-19. The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) swab tests will be analyzed at a dedicated lab for these testing sites, and results are expected within 48 hours or less and provided via a secure online portal or by phone.

“This new testing is intended to complement and expand the testing currently offered by the Florida Department of Health-Bay County and local providers,” Bay County Commission Chairman Philip “Griff” Griffitts said. “We are grateful to the state for their assistance and support in making these testing sites possible, and we hope that this significant expansion in testing availability will help us slow the spread of COVID-19.”

The state Division of Emergency Management provided personal protective equipment (PPE), test kits and labs. Bay County – through its CARES Act funding – has contracted a third-party provider, Walk-On Clinic, to staff the testing sites.

Chris Yarn, chief executive officer of Walk-On Clinic, said he is excited about helping Bay County in its efforts to stem the virus’ spread, and he said his company seeks to hire up to 30 local healthcare providers on a contract basis to assist in the effort.

“What we’re trying to do right now is staff up with as many people from Panama City as possible,” Yarn said. “We’re looking for anyone in the medical field, particularly medical assistants and phlebotomists, who is now unemployed as a result of the challenges presented by the virus.”

Yarn added that people interested in working for his company should email Thomas@walkonclinic.com for more information. He said hourly rates start at $17 or more, depending on level of licensure and experience.

To make an appointment for a test, visit https://walkonclinic.apacovid.com/default.aspx. A short medical questionnaire must be completed before booking an appointment time, and accurate information must be provided to ensure test results are received. Insurance information is not necessary and can be skipped by stating “no insurance” on the questionnaire. Photo identification is required upon arrival for an appointment.

Yarn said that appointment-based testing is the most efficient use of time.

“This makes the process seamless and helps people to avoid waiting for hours in line to get a test,” he said. “The process is generally very quick and only takes about 12 minutes from start to finish with an appointment.”

For now, the tests are available at no cost to anyone 18 and older, though county officials say they are working to offer the testing to minors as soon as possible. The hours of operation for each testing site will be: Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For daily updates and information about COVID-19, text “bayhealth” to 888-777 and follow Bay County, Florida Emergency Services on Facebook. Also, visit bayhealthcovid19.org.

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