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Friday, April 16, 2021

Alachua County residents in need of COVID-19 testing are now in luck.

The county announced Monday that testing is now available to all residents — even those without symptoms, a Facebook alert read. Referrals from doctors are not required, and residents seeking testing must call the county’s health department at 352-334-8810.

Testing is free for those without insurance. Those with insurance don’t have to pay a copay, an extra fee to cover medical expenses.

Monday was Florida’s first day of reopening since initiating a statewide safer-at-home order. City Commissioner David Arreola said that when he woke up, he was surprised to hear that there would be expanded COVID-19 testing.

“It brings me hope, and hope is so rare and important these days,” Arreola said.

After residents call and sign up to be tested, they will receive an appointment from the county health department to go to the drive-thru testing site near Depot Park, Arreola said.

He said the goal of expanding testing was to decrease turnaround time. He did not specify how long it would take for the results from each test to be released.

Testing allows for greater contact tracing, especially with asymptomatic cases, he said. Arreola believes tracing cases is important to defeat the virus.

“Not everyone needs to get a test,” he said. “Everyone who believes they need to be tested for the coronavirus needs to be able to be tested free of charge.”

Contact Grethel at gaguila@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @GrethelAguila.

The COVID-19 virus.

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