TAMPA, Fla. — People looking to get a free COVID-19 test will soon have more options to consider in Hillsborough County.
A new county-run site is set to open at 9 a.m. Thursday at Progress Village Park, located at 8701 Progress Blvd. in Tampa, according to a news release. It will be open every day, including weekends, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The site, however, will not be open on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 for the holiday.
The city of Tampa also announced it will reopen the test site at Al Lopez Park located at 4810 N. Himes Ave. It is scheduled to remain open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day starting Dec. 31 — and it will be open during the holiday, the city said.
PCR and rapid tests will be available. People are asked to enter on the north side of Al Lopez Park, go into the parking lot and walk up to the HUNT center to complete the test.
"This is a highly contagious COVID variant hitting our community, and it’s important for all of us to take personal responsibility and take precautions to protect ourselves, family members, colleagues, and neighbors," Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said in a statement. "Vaccinations and boosters are the best protection from serious illness."
The county also announced the following test sites at two Community Resource Center during the holiday weekend:
They will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 31 to Jan. 2 with 1,000 tests available per day.
Officials' decision to open the sites comes as Hillsborough County — and the country at large — experiences a significant increase in COVID-19 cases caused by the more transmissible omicron variant. Demand for COVID tests nationwide has been high and in the Tampa Bay area, long lines have been reported at testing sites.
The county continues to operate a site at the West Tampa Community Resource Center located at 2103 N. Rome Ave. It offers testing, vaccinations, booster shots and monoclonal antibody therapy from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day.
In addition to county-run sites, people can consider testing options at local pharmacies.
There have been 5,147 COVID-19 cases reported in the past seven days through Dec. 27 in Hillsborough County, according to the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. It's a 286-percent increase over the week prior.