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Leaders want coronavirus testing site in south Palm Beach County

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Posted at 11:59 AM, Mar 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-30 18:06:42-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Will a large-scale coronavirus testing site come to southern Palm Beach County?

That's the hope from local leaders who are asking the county's government to open a second mass COVID-19 testing location farther south.

On Tuesday, a drive-through mobile testing site is scheduled to open at the FITTEAM Ballpark of The Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach.

U.S. Rep. Emily Slosberg, whose district represents parts of west Boca Raton, Delray Beach, and Boynton Beach, along with Boca Raton City Councilmember Andy Thompson, wrote a letter to Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner last week, asking for a drive-through testing site in southern Palm Beach County as well.

The letter read, in part:

"We must continue to strategically place drive-through testing sites in areas that house our most vulnerable citizens. South Palm Beach County is home to one of the largest concentrations of senior citizens in the State of Florida, putting it at a uniquely high risk if we fail to act quickly."

The letter stated that Palm Beach County has set aside emergency funds for situations like this.

""The consequences of not moving quickly to test for COVID-19 in our most vulnerable communities could be disastrous. For that reason, we respectfully request that you establish a drive-through testing site in South Palm Beach County."

Thompson told WPTV that he believes to top choice for a southern Palm Beach County testing site would be the South County Civic Center, located at 16700 Jog Road in west Delray Beach.

The letter also recommends the Weisman Delray Community Center as a possible site.

"We are out here now still not knowing the true nature and spread of the virus in our area," said Thompson, who added that Boca Raton leads Palm Beach County with the number of confirmed coronavirus cases at 80.

Thompson said the FITTEAM Ballpark is a far drive for certain south county residents, particularly the elderly.

"That is still a pretty long drive from someone down this way, especially if you are somebody older," Thompson said.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Coronavirus | We're Open South Florida

On Sunday, Palm Beach County leaders said that once the FITTEAM Ballpark testing site is opened on Tuesday, a plan to add another testing site in southern Palm Beach County will get underway.

"Tuesday night, we're gonna work on getting that site in south county," said Commissioner Mack Bernard.

"Once this ballpark site opens up, they will be pushing in a day or two to open one in the south county," Thompson said. "They're trying to locate the right location for it."

Bernard said he visited five potential testing sites in southern Palm Beach County on Monday, and he hopes to lock in a location by Tuesday evening.

For the latest information about coronavirus cases in Florida, click here.