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What it's like to get tested for COVID-19

First, we want to stress we did not take any tests away from people who need them. The state wants to test as many people as possible.

RUSKIN, Fla. — Anyone that wants to be tested for COVID-19 can be tested: that's the message across Florida letting people know they can make their way to any state-run site and get tested for any reason.

There's no need for a prescription and you don't even have to have symptoms to get tested at the state-run sites.  

10 Tampa Bay's Jenny Dean set out to get tested last week so she could describe the process and let you know exactly what to expect.  

Before we get into that, we want to stress this did not take testing away from anyone. The county wants as many people as possible to get tested.

Now, onto the actual test.

First, we looked up the county's website to find the number to call and make an appointment.  After a few quick questions: name, address, date of birth and contact information, she set up an appointment for Wednesday, May 20 in Hillsborough County. 

It certainly does give you some peace of mind. Jenny Dean said she did not expect to be positive. She didn't believe she had been exposed and she hadn't been feeling sick. But, she said she didn't want to be walking around asymptomatic.

Again, anyone who wants to be tested can be tested for any reason. So, if you have any concerns at all, it's worth it for peace of mind.  

Jon-Paul Lavandeira runs the testing sites for Hillsborough County.

"There are four county-run test sites, three of which are at community resource centers, which are Lee Davis, Plant City and South Shore, and then we additionally have the other large site at Raymond James Stadium."

Jenny Dean chose the South Shore Community Center in Ruskin. One thing was clear when I arrived. After doing nearly 20 thousand tests, the workers have this process down. 

First stop: Registration. This was where a worker asked for the information she needed. "I need your name address, date of birth social email and phone number."

Once that was checked, she put the paper on the windshield and Jenny Dean drove to the tent to get the test. Once there, a woman walked up to the window.

"I'm Jeanie I'm the nurse and I'm going to go ahead and swab the back of your throat. I'm going to have you bring your mask down all the way down beneath your chin for me. Open wide and say 'ah.'"

After about 10 seconds, it was done and Jenny Dean drove away. 

"I'm glad that I went through with it and I'm glad I could show you the process, but that is just how quick it is."

Lavandeira said that's the goal. 

"Our average right now is about three and a half minutes from the moment someone drives in, to the moment they drive out, so it's a very speedy process and a very customer friendly process."

Jenny Dean got her test on Wednesday morning and on Sunday morning she got a notification on her phone the lab results are in. Then, she went to check the email that had her results in it.

 "Not detected, so negative!"

"It certainly does give you some peace of mind. I did not expect to be positive. I don't believe I've been exposed and I haven't been feeling sick, but I didn't want to be walking around asymptomatic.  Again, anyone who wants to be tested can be tested for any reason. So, if you have any concerns at all, it's worth it for peace of mind."

These are the numbers to call if you want to set up an appointment:

Getting a COVID-19 test

Getting a COVID-19 test IT'S REALLY THIS EASY: Anyone in Florida can be tested for COVID-19 whether they have symptoms or not. 10 Tampa Bay's Jenny Dean is getting a test this morning in Hillsborough County so you can see what the actual process is like. Have questions? Send them our way! You can find 10 Tampa Bay's full coverage on the coronavirus pandemic here: www.wtsp.com/coronavirus

Posted by 10 Tampa Bay on Wednesday, May 20, 2020

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