With Tropical Storm Isaias expected to lash Florida this weekend, the Division of Emergency Management said state-supported testing sites for COVID-19 will temporarily close at 5 p.m. Thursday.
The sites, which are in 23 counties, offer walk-up testing and drive-through testing. The Division of Emergency Management said a potential tropical storm is expected to bring heavy rains and strong winds that could affect South Florida as early as Friday.
“Testing sites are closing out of an abundance of caution to keep individuals operating and attending the sites safe,” the division said in a news release. “All sites have freestanding structures including tents and other equipment, which cannot withstand tropical storm force winds and could cause damage to people and property if not secured.”
The division said the testing sites will remain closed until it is safe to reopen, with all expected to reopen by 8 a.m. next Wednesday.
Hillsborough County announced all of its public testing sites will close at the end of the day on Thursday. That includes sites at Raymond James Stadium, community resource centers in east Tampa, Plant City, and SouthShore, and sites in Brandon, Wimuama, Sun City Center, and Town ‘N Country.
County officials say all appointments through at least Tuesday are canceled, and they’ll reach out directly to people who have appointments scheduled during that time.
In addition, the COVID-19 testing site at the Duke Energy Center for the Arts Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg is being closed at 7 p.m. Thursday. The site will not operate Friday or Saturday.
Testing at the Mahaffey is anticipated to resume next week after the threat from Isaias passes.
Some testing sites that are run by hospitals and other medical providers will remain open Friday.