Jacksonville councilman requests millions in emergency funding to meet COVID-19 testing demands

Jacksonville, Fla. — In Duval County and across the state of Florida, many people are now waiting in line for hours to get tested for COVID-19 as new cases of the virus continue to climb.

On Wednesday, Jacksonville Councilman Garrett Dennis proposed adding 3 testing sites in the city and requested $5 million in emergency funding to do it quickly.

If approved, the Agape Health sites would be located at Shoppes at Sherwood, Lane Wiley Center, and College Park Center in Arlington and would offer testing and vaccinations.

“As a community, we must make testing not only widely available, but also convenient with accessibility to public transportation. Identifying those infected will obviously prevent the continuous spread by requiring immediate quarantine,” Dennis said.

Florida hit 11,515 hospitalized patients Tuesday, breaking last year’s record for the third straight day and up from just 1,000 in mid-June, according to the Associated Press.

“From my perspective, this is really, the solution is to get vaccinated,” said Jacksonville mayor Lenny Curry during a virtual call Wednesday that was hosted by Gov. DeSantis and included hospital CEOs from across the state.

“I’m not suggesting we coerce or force or mandate people to get vaccinated, but if we keep working together to educate them that the vaccine is effective, it will keep you out of the hospital, and it will keep you from getting really, really sick.”

Jacksonville is currently leading Florida with COVID-19 cases.

Yesterday, President Joe Biden criticized DeSantis and a handful of other officials who have moved to block new mask mandates.

“If you’re not going to help, at least get out of the way of people trying to do the right thing,” Biden said.

Samantha Mathers

Samantha Mathers, Action News Jax

Samantha Mathers is a digital reporter and content creator for Action News Jax.