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COVID testing site at HCC Brandon campus closes after reaching capacity

People are encouraged to visit another site in the meantime.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — The county announced the Hillsborough Community College Brandon campus testing site reached capacity for the day.

No new tests will be available Monday, it said.

RELATED: Where to get tested for COVID-19 across Tampa Bay area

The previous stories are below.

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Hillsborough County has opened its third Covid testing site.

This one, strictly drive-through, is located in the Brandon area on the campus of Hillsborough Community College off Falkenberg Road.

On the first day for the new site, cars were stacked several rows deep, and wait times reached about two hours. But some people were perfectly willing to wait even longer for a test at this new site rather than standing in line at others.

“It’s just a bad situation all around,” said Mindy Weisberg, one of the thousands of people waiting in the long line.

Earlier in the day, Weisberg and her daughter had tried unsuccessfully to access Hillsborough’s walk-up testing site in Progress Village.

“It was just backed up beyond, we couldn’t even get to the road that led to it,” Weisberg said. “So, we came here, yeah, as a Plan B. And at least we are in our car this time.”

For lots of people, waiting longer in the drive-through line was still better than standing in any line — shoulder to shoulder with other people exhibiting symptoms.

“Most people now they still don’t follow the guidelines when it comes to standing close,” said Sterling Jackson, who has stood in line three previous times.

“This is probably a little safer, I’m thinking,” said Eddie Von Hegner, who wasn’t feeling any symptoms, but was concerned he’d been exposed to COVID.

Jenn Burton said if it meant standing in line rather than sitting in her car, she’d skip the test. 

“When you look at our positivity rate of 30%. And look, 30% of those people in that line probably have COVID,” Burton said. “I don’t want to be standing with them. So, I’m sitting here in my car.”

The county says it opened the HCC Brandon location after gauging demand.

They have plenty of tests, both rapid and PCR. Still, with wait time reaching two hours they ask people to be patient.

“But you do have AC in your car. Make sure that you are fully gassed up. We do have Porta Johns here in case the wait is long, and you need to use the facilities,” said Katja Miller, Hillsborough’s site coordinator.

“You know, it would be great to open more,” said Weisberg, “But I realize you have to staff more then. So, it’s a give-and-take.”

Hillsborough County hopes the surge at its newest location will subside with time the same it did at its Rome Avenue and Progress Village testing sites.

At all three, those who have proof of insurance are asked to bring it is not necessary.

“This is open seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. just as our other two sides, and it will stay open as long as we see the demand for it,” Miller said.

Hillsborough says its hours of operation and services offered could change depending upon demand and how long lines are during the day.

For updates, click here: HCFLGOV.net/covid19

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Hillsborough County has opened a third location for residents to receive a free COVID-19 test.

Beginning on Monday, people will be able to go from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. to the Hillsborough Community College Brandon campus for a free test, a media alert from the county explains.

This is reportedly a drive-thru site and no appointments are needed.

The entrance to the testing site is off East Columbus Drive, county leaders explain. Visitors will not be able to enter the testing area by using Nancy Watkins Drive.

Hillsborough County Office of Emergency Management asks for people to not arrive at the testing sites before 9 a.m. to help minimize traffic congestion, the alert says. Once the gates of the site are opened, guests are allowed to be seen.

A county-run site opened at Progress Village Park, located at 8701 Progress Blvd. in Tampa. It's open every day, including weekends, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The city of Tampa also reopened 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.

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.

Proof of medical insurance is recommended and should be presented at the visit for all services, county leaders explain. People without insurance can still be tested, vaccinated or receive monoclonal antibody therapy treatment for free.

In addition to county-run sites, people can consider testing options at local pharmacies.