Jacksonville COVID-19 testing sites see influx of people after Labor Day weekend

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. —

Jacksonville residents are checking in with local testing sites post-Labor Day weekend. So much so, the Telescope Health site reached max capacity before the end of the day.

At the Telescope Health site in Neptune Beach, the line of cars extended into the parking lot.

Telescope is the only provider offering free PCR and rapid tests in Jacksonville, besides rapid tests you can buy at local pharmacies.

Telescope Health officials said PCR test results come back in about 72 hours. Rapid test results come back in four hours by text or 24 hours by email.

In Moncrief, the Agape Health site only offers PCR tests.

“We went on a trip and we wanted to come back just to make sure we were all safe and sound,” Monica David said.

People there said they expected to wait a little.

“I saw a lot of people coming out to get tested, which is a good thing,” one resident said.

“I feel like there’s going to be a lot more people here because they went out, they went drinking, they enjoyed themselves,” David said.

Despite the increased need for testing and the bigger crowds, Agape Health officials said the sites are not seeing more people than they expected, and there is no backlog in the labs.

Keep in mind, rapid tests can be hard to come by. Sometimes, Telescope Health tweets that they’ve reached capacity for the day, or due to carrier problems, they do not have rapid tests available.

We asked Telescope Health about these carrier problems. We were given this statement:

“On August 24th, 2021 our Neptune Beach testing site ran out of Rapid COVID-19 tests. We prepare our site with excess test supplies in case volumes surge but the combination of quadrupling our capacity and an unfortunate 2-day delay in shipment led to running out of rapid tests. We have made the necessary inventory and shipping changes to meet our daily testing commitment and do not anticipate any further issues with testing supply at our site.”

We also asked Telescope what changes it has made to the testing site.

“We have looked at every aspect of our drive-thru testing experience and continue to do so to make improvements. First of all, we doubled our staff and have a hard-working and flexible team. Our pre-registration software, which we developed ourselves, significantly reduced the time people are waiting in their cars. We also changed our traffic flow with the help of the Neptune Beach Police Department. Finally, we moved our mobile lab operations into the vacant sportsplex building thanks to the generous donation of the owner, Alan Dickinson. Prior to these changes and COJ funding, we were utilizing our mobile clinic trailer adjacent to the Kmart. Our capacity saw an increase from 100 tests per day to over 500. Our wait times have decreased from 3 hours on our first day to about 1 hour now.”

You can find all the testing sites here.