A patient prepares to get tested at a drive-thru testing site.

Image: Shutterstock

The Sarasota County Department of Health, Sarasota County Government and Sarasota Memorial Hospital will launch a COVID-19 drive-thru sample collection site at Twin Lakes Park, starting March 27 and running from 8 a.m.-noon. The service will only be available to people with symptoms who meet Centers for Disease Control testing guidelines. To be tested, a physician must refer you; the physician's office will contact the Sarasota Department of Health, which will then contact patients to set up an appointment date and time.

"We anticipate collecting 50 samples a day at this drive-thru site," Steve Huard, the Sarasota Department of Health's public information officer, says.  

COVID-19 testing is done using a nasopharyngeal swab—basically a long Q-tip—that reaches to the back of a patient's throat and allows healthcare professions to collect specimens. The samples collected at the site will be sent to labs for testing.

Those being tested must be in a vehicle and remain inside at all times; no walk-ups are allowed. A photo ID and prescription, written by a healthcare provider, must also be provided.

The Sarasota Department of Health adds that residents who believe they may be sick with COVID-19 are asked to call the county hotline at (941) 861-2883 before visiting an emergency room. If you are sick with COVID-19, or suspect you have the virus, stay home except to get medical care. Do not go to work, school or public areas, and avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.

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