As Confirmed Coronavirus Cases Rise, Gainesville Offers Free Drive-Up Testing At Citizens Field

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Before 9 a.m. on Saturday morning, cars lined up at Citizens Field for free coronavirus testing.

The City of Gainesville, Community Foundation, Walmart Foundation, and the health department partnered to provide testing to Gainesville residents.

“(In) Alachua County, the numbers are spiking, they’re going up and so we wanted to provide an opportunity for the vulnerable population particularly the residents in east Gainesville to have an opportunity to come out and get tested,” City Commissioner Gigi Simmons said.

The Alachua County Health Department provided over 700 tests on a first-come, first-served basis for the UF Mobile Outreach Clinic to administer.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, data shows some minority groups are at a greater risk of hospitalization or death resulting from COVID 19.

David Rountree, director of diversity and inclusion outreach for the Community Foundation of North Central Florida, said it’s a trend that is currently being seen in Alachua County.

“We’re seeing results where 49% of the hospitalizations are apart of the African American and Black community, 42% of the deaths here in Alachua county are actually acquainted to the Black population and African American population where they make up 19 to 20% of the population,” Rountree said.

Simmons said there are many reasons why minorities are considered a vulnerable population.

“People of color, in general, are in a situation and are in neighborhoods or communities that lack access to healthcare, we lack access to food, we have a disparity in our communities,” Simmons said.

Rountree said cases continue to rise in the state of Florida, and he reminds everyone that it is important to protect yourself and get tested if you feel sick.

“Wearing masks and social distancing is one thing you can do but also getting tested right now will at least help you understand where you stand and then make sure you take the necessary precautions to stay safe for our community,” Rountree said.

Rountree also added that he hopes the foundation will be able to provide more opportunities for drive-up testing in the future.

Free coronavirus testing is also available on Wednesdays and Fridays at the former City Regional Transit headquarters location. Call 352-334-8810 to schedule an appointment.

About Taylor Levesque

Taylor is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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