PBS and NPR for Southwest Florida
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

FL National Guard To Start COVID-19 Testing In Immokalee May 3

Tech Sgt. Adam Vance
U.S. Air National Guard
Airmen with the 186th Air Refueling Wing administer COVID-19 tests at a mobile COVID-19 testing site Mississippi on April 1, 2020.

Starting Sunday, May 3rd, the Florida National Guard will activate a COVID-19 testing site in Immokalee.

Immokalee Division Director for Department of Health Collier, Mark Lemke, said people won’t need a medical referral to get tested.

“We will not turn anybody away who shows up to get a test, until we run out of tests,” Lemke said.

On Tuesday, Lemke said the local health department was given 1,000 tests by the state Division of Emergency Management  for the site.

“They want to see our burn rate for the first 1,000 [tests] and they will overnight more, we are trying to get them to just send us the other thousand now,” Lemke said.

Lemke said people will be tested on a first come, first serve basis.

“As we see how long it takes to get someone through the process, we’ll let the [Collier] Sheriff’s Office know so they can end that line when we feel that will take us up until either the end of the day or to the point when we are out of tests,” Lemke said.

County health officials said clients will be asked to provide their name, address, phone number and social security number, if they have one.

Information on how to access results will be available at the testing site in Spanish and Creole. Lemke says the department also wants to make that information available in Mam, a Mayan language.

“It gives them the information about the lab and if they don’t hear anything in five days, that they can call that number and get their results,” Lemke said.

Walk up and drive-through Covid-19 testing will be available from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Sunday, May 3 through Tuesday, May 5 at the Collier DOH Immokalee branch location.

Andrea Perdomo is a reporter for WGCU News. She started her career in public radio as an intern for the Miami-based NPR station, WLRN. Andrea graduated from Florida International University, where she was a contributing writer for the student-run newspaper, The Panther Press, and was also a member of the university's Society of Professional Journalists chapter.