Beaches mayors visit Neptune Beach site offering free COVID-19 rapid and PCR tests

DUVAL COUNTY, Fla. — The mayors of Duval County’s three beach municipalities (Mayor Ellen Glasser of Atlantic Beach, Mayor Elaine Brown of Neptune Beach, and Mayor Chris Hoffman of Jacksonville Beach) are getting a closer look at a new COVID-19 testing site in Neptune Beach.

The site has tripled its staff in the past two weeks just to keep up with demand.

The Beaches location in Neptune Beach (540 Atlantic Blvd.) is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and it offers free PCR and rapid-result antigen COVID-19 tests.

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It opened on Aug. 16 and since then, it’s tested about 4,400 people total. Roughly 3,500 tests have come back negative, while about 700 have been positive.

When it first opened, it was seeing about a hundred people a day. But just on Monday, more than 550 people showed up to get tested.

Three weeks ago, the city council unanimously passed an emergency resolution to use $4 million in federal relief funds to expand testing as the delta variant surges, and this is what is making these sites possible.

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On Tuesday morning, Dr. Matthew Thompson, the chief operations officer of Telescope Health, who co-founded this site, wanted to show them how they’re putting these resources to use.

“This is an opportunity to thank the mayors,” he said. “Mayor [Elaine] Brown, Mayor [Ellen] Glasser, Mayor [Chris] Hoffman and Councilman [Rory] Diamond for their support of this site and just to show the ongoing need and demand here.”

”There’s over a hundred people. I did not expect that,” Mayor Elaine Brown of Neptune Beach said. “I was shocked at the number of people and I drive by here every day now.”

Thanks to an in-house lab that Telescope Health has installed to process the increased volume of tests, they can now process PCR tests in under 30 hours, and rapid-result tests in about four hours. You get a text once results are in.

This is one of five testing sites the Duval Department of Health has opened throughout the course of the past two weeks.

Here is the full list of those sites:

  • Lane Wiley Senior Center, operated by Agape Health (testing and vaccinations).
  • Clanzel T. Brown Community Center, operated by Agape Health (testing and vaccinations).
  • Beaches location (former Kmart), operated by Telescope Health (testing only).
  • Emmett Reed Community Center, operated by the Duval Department of Health (testing and vaccinations).
  • Cuba Hunter Community Center (testing and vaccinations).