If you are exposed to someone with Covid-19 and want to know if you caught it, your choices are much better than just a few months ago. You can go to urgent cares, retail pharmacies, doctors’ offices and private laboratories for a variety of tests and rapid results – a critical expansion of choices at a time when new cases are spiking in Florida and the U.S.
The state has ditched the slow-processing labs, secured quicker tests and cut wait times from the early months of the pandemic. Floridians will now find a range of choices on places to go, types of tests, and turnaround speed.
Earlier this week, Alex Morton found out at 5 p.m. his roommate had tested positive for the virus, and wanted to know if he could go to work the next day. Morton rushed to a nearby Fort Lauderdale urgent clinic open until 9 p.m., took a coronavirus test and learned he was negative the next morning. “It was a relief,” he said.
No appointment required
Many urgent care centers in South Florida offer evening hours for testing. Holy Cross Hospital operates urgent care centers in Fort Lauderdale and Coral Springs and says patients can get results with 8 to 10 hours.
If you’d rather test yourself at home, Quest Diagnostics and Labcorp, two of the nation’s biggest laboratories, will deliver collection kits to take a sample and send it back for processing. Quest charges $119 for the test.
Costco offers its members do-it-yourself Covid-19 tests that involve spitting into a small tube and sending it to a lab. For $129.99, you’ll get results 24-72 hours after the lab gets the test. For $10 more, you can get results 24-48 hours after the test arrives at the lab.
If you prefer drive-thru testing, Walmart, Walgreens and CVS, have it available at certain South Florida locations.
CVS Minute Clinics have begun to offer rapid tests with 30-minute results, but so far the nine Florida locations are in the central area of the state and the pharmacy hasn’t announced when they will be available in South Florida.
The state continues to run numerous walk-up and drive-thru testing sites in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade. Many are open seven days a week, but all close by 6 p.m. and some much earlier. Appointments are not required but some locations make them available.
Currently, the Hard Rock Stadium in North Miami-Dade County is the busiest, but not nearly as bad as the early days. “Anyone who wants a test can get one. We are not seeing the challenges of when we first started,” said Mike Jachle, chair of the Florida Association of Public Information Officers, which supports the state at the test sites.
Some cities like Miramar also have opened their own free test sites. Miramar’s self-administered saliva test given at Miramar Regional Park has a 48 hour turnaround time.
Anyone can get tested, for free
In most cases, you do not have to pay for a