Ascension Sacred Heart will restart COVID-19 testing drive-thru
PENSACOLA, Fla. (Dec. 29, 2021) – In response to an increase in coronavirus cases in the Pensacola area, Ascension Medical Group Sacred Heart will restart a drive-thru COVID-19 testing center on Tuesday, Jan. 4.
The drive-through will be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 5192 Bayou Boulevard, Pensacola. No pre-registration or appointment is needed. The testing site will offer the traditional PCR swab test that will be sent to the hospital laboratory at Ascension Sacred Heart Pensacola. Lab results will be available in 24 hours.
Ascension Medical Group will bill a patient’s insurance if they have it, but the service will be provided with no out-of- pocket charges for the test. Those seeking a test should bring a valid form of identification and insurance card.
“We know the State of Florida is seeing unprecedented numbers of new COVID-19 cases and we expect the new Omicron variant will bring a rapid surge of cases into Northwest Florida in the weeks ahead,” said Justin Labrato, chief operating officer at Ascension Medical Group Sacred Heart. “Hospitalizations are starting to climb so we are responding again to a community need for more accessible testing. Testing can help to identify the virus early, slow the spread, and allow infected people to isolate and seek treatment as needed.”
Decisions about Ascension Sacred Heart’s testing beyond next week have not been made yet. The Ascension Sacred Heart team was among the first in Florida to open a drive-through testing site when the coronavirus first arrived in Pensacola in March 2020. The site continued to operate for 54 consecutive weeks. After ceasing operations when cases dropped later in 2021, Sacred Heart resumed its drive-through when Pensacola had its third and worst surge of the coronavirus during August and early September. At the height of the summer surge, the drive-through staff provided swab tests to more than 500 people in only four hours. In total, the drive-thru center has tested approximately 100,000 people.
Ascension Sacred Heart urges all eligible people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, and if you are eligible, to get the third booster shot. Health experts say the booster shot can greatly increase protection against severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control also recommends wearing a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high community transmission, regardless of vaccination status.
Symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- > Severe fatigue or muscle or body aches
- > Fever or body chills
- > Cough
- > Sore throat
- > Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- > Headache
- > Congestion or runny nose
- > Nausea or vomiting
- > Diarrhea
- > Loss of taste or smell
COVID-19 symptoms can resemble those of the common cold. Other infected patients have developed long-term symptoms such as crushing fatigue, irregular heart rhythms and other issues months after their initial Covid infection.