Wednesday, November 18, 2020
51.3 F
Ocala

Coronavirus testing site in The Villages strictly for residents of retirement community

A large-scale Coronavirus testing site that’s opening Monday morning in The Villages will be restricted to residents of the mega-retirement community.

The drive-through “Villages-style” site, which is encouraging golf cart traffic, will be at the polo fields. Gov. Ron DeSantis touted the site in a Saturday press conference and plans to be there Monday to bless it’s opening.

Tents were being organized Saturday for the drive-up testing site at The Villages Polo Fields that opens Monday.

The site is being operated by UF Health, owner of the renowned Shands Hospital in Gainesville. That massive healthcare organization also has a partnership with The Villages and owns the hospitals in Florida’s Friendliest Hometown and Leesburg.

A posting by UF Health says the tests will be limited to Villagers, the vast majority of whom are seniors. The thousands of other seniors who live in surrounding retirement communities like Del Webb Spruce Creek, Water Oak, Spruce Creek South and Stonecrest – to name a few – apparently won’t be welcome at the site, even though they also are among the most vulnerable to the virus.

“Unfortunately, test kits and supplies are limited due to resource issues at the state and national levels,” the UF Health posting says. “As a result, we can only offer a limited number of testing appointments each day and currently only to residents of The Villages.”

The site – https://ufhealthcovid.com/ – says the program includes two “testing arms:”

  • The first one focuses on clinical testing using FDA-approved tests under guidelines set out by the CDC.
  • The second one focuses on voluntary research testing and uses supplies and test kits provided by The University of Florida Infectious Disease Lab that haven’t yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The testing site at the polo fields marks the second such effort in the sprawling retirement community. Premier Medical Associates launched a similar drive-through effort a week ago and has tested about 15-20 people per day. The healthcare organization has fielded about 2,200 Coronavirus-related calls at its 15 Central Florida locations and late last week, it’s vice president of patient care, Lina Cohen, put out an impassioned plea via a Facebook video for help from the state and smaller labs that might have testing swabs available.

Even though Premier’s testing site is located in The Villages – 1580 Santa Barbara Blvd. near UF Health The Villages Hospital – it hasn’t been restricted to Villagers nor just to patients of the healthcare provider.

“We are in this together,” Cohen said on her video. “This is about the whole country standing up together to help one another.”

Photos in Ocala, Florida

Crime

Woman awaiting extradition back to Marion County in Sunday night homicide

A woman who is behind bars in Georgia allegedly shot and killed an Ocala man because she believed he was unable to help her regain custody of her children.

Ocala man who burned boy with cigarette says it was an accident

A 32-year-old Ocala man charged with child abuse for choking and burning a child with a cigarette said it was an accident and he was only playing around.

Coffee pot-throwing woman jailed after drunken spat

An Ocala woman was arrested after she allegedly threw a coffee pot at a man who left her at a bar during an argument.

Ocala Police investigating shooting that left 44-year-old man dead

A 44-year-old man was gunned down early Sunday morning outside an Ocala residence.

Business

Ocala Golden Corral reopening doors after extended pandemic closure

The Ocala Golden Corral will reopen its doors latter this month after an extended closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Students encourage to apply to ‘Shark Tank’ style business plan competition

Students across the county are being encouraged to apply to be a part of a local “Shark Tank” style competition hosted by the chamber.

New hotel reserving parking spaces in Ocala downtown parking garage

The free parking spaces available in Ocala’s Downtown Parking Garage were reduced this past week when the new hotel's parking lease with the city began.

Regal Hollywood & IMAX remains closed while Marion, Epic Theatres in Ocala remain open

Regal Hollywood & IMAX has remained closed for the past month while Marion and Epic Theatres of Ocala have been operating at limited capacity. 

Subscribe for email updates

* indicates required

Headlines

City Council blesses mayor’s appointment of Balken as Ocala’s new police chief

Mike Balken was appointed to serve as the City of Ocala’s 31st police chief during Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.

Woman awaiting extradition back to Marion County in Sunday night homicide

A woman who is behind bars in Georgia allegedly shot and killed an Ocala man because she believed he was unable to help her regain custody of her children.

Ocala man who burned boy with cigarette says it was an accident

A 32-year-old Ocala man charged with child abuse for choking and burning a child with a cigarette said it was an accident and he was only playing around.

5 new COVID-19 deaths as Marion County reports significant spike in cases

Five more local residents have succumbed to COVID-19 as Marion County reported a significant increase in new cases Tuesday.

More headlines