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East County Tuesday, Mar. 24, 2020 2 months ago

Manatee County expected to get 'drive-thru' COVID-19 testing this week

Manatee County commissioners extend 'state of local emergency' due to coronavirus.
by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

Manatee County Public Safety Director Jacob Sauer today said Manatee County expects to open a "limited drive-thru" testing site for the coronavirus later this week, and he expects to see an uptick in cases reported as testing increases.

Sauer, who said the county isn't ready to announce where the drive-thru site would be, said he is confident the county has effective safety measures in place, but expects the virus will continue to spread and increase in the weeks ahead. 

“We must prepare for the medial surge coming,” he said.

Manatee County officials also announced that beach access will be restricted at Beer Can (Greer) Island, Thursday, March 26 at 6 a.m., and that all county- and city-owned boat ramps will close indefinitely Thursday, March 26 at 6 a.m. Only commercial operations with a U.S. Coast Guard Six-Pack Captain’s License and a commercial fishing license can use the ramps.

Sauer also noted first responders and healthcare workers are in short supply of personal protection equipment (PPE), and asked community businesses to help donating unused N-95 masks, surgical masks and gloves. Businesses interested in donating these items are asked to call (941) 744-3939. 

Manatee County commissioners extended their “state of local emergency” for Manatee County and granted chairwoman Betsy Benac authority to extend the status as needed in the coming weeks. State law requires commissioners re-approve the “state of local emergency” every seven days.

Manatee County parks remain open.

“We are trusting our community to realize the seriousness of this,” Saur said. 

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