JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — An increase in testing for COVID-19 this winter is something Jacksonville doctors saw coming in the fall.
Dr. Saman Soleymani of Avecina Medical says lines were forming at his six urgent care locations each morning even before they opened.
"My staff would call me at 8am and say there are 40 people standing outside and that's just not feasible," he told First Coast News.
Avecina now requires an appointment which can be made online.
Dr. Soleymani has the capacity to test 600 people a day. He's no longer scheduling for vaccines because of the high demand for testing.
"We are really not taking in patients for vaccination because we don't want to clog up the waiting rooms for something that patients can get in many places," he said.
The demand is also changing how many tests are given at the Neptune Beach COVID-19 testing site. Telescope Health announced it will now limit the number of tests to 250 a day.
The city of Jacksonville sponsors the location and the mayor's office is looking to the city council to approve more funding to keep it open after spending $4 million in federal money to increase testing last summer.
Agape Family Health also has a partnership with the city of Jacksonville to run two COVID-19 testing and vaccine sites.
CEO Mia Jones says the non-profit spent $500,000 to keep its doors open after the federally-sponsored sites closed.
"As COVID has taken over our communities, we recognized it was important for us to make sure that we stayed," said
Agape recently signed a six month extension with the city to continue its services through the summer.
"We anticipate that they will make sure that we have the funds that are necessary to support that," she said of the extension which runs through June.
Walk-ups are welcome at the Clanzel T. Brown Community Center and the Lane Wiley Senior Center. More details on Agape's list of COVID-19 services can be found here.
The Overflow Alliance offers free PCR tests. Results take between 2-3 business days.
There are two locations:
Overflow Alliance Clinic - 3416 Moncrief Road
Making Ends Meet grocery store – 4220 Moncrief Road
The facility is open 8am-5pm.