COVID-19 Positivity At 50% At Drive-thru Testing Site; Official Says That’s Not Necessarily Concerning

January 6, 2022

About half of the people tested for COVID-19 on the first day of a drive-thru site in Pensacola were positive.

Ascension Sacred Heart restarted their drive-thru testing site due to a rise in cases and hospitalizations, setting a one day testing record on Tuesday of 649.

But the roughly 50% positivity rate should not be the community’s focus for the omicron variant of COVID-19, according to Escambia County Public Safety Director Eric Gilmore. Instead, he said the biggest concern should be the number of people hospitalized due to the virus.

“It’s been said omicron spreads really rapidly. You will hear a positivity rate. If you look at hospitalizations, they are rising…but it’s not exponential like it was with delta (variant),” he said. “People think they need to do something when they test positive, but most of the time they can stay home and self-medicate, taking a lot of unnecessary load off  of the hospitals.”

He said that not as many people are being required to get a test in order to return to school or work, so probably most of the people getting tested feel bad and are more likely to test positive.

“They hear Sacred Heart is accessible, so that’s where they go to get it,” he said, contributing to the high positivity rate.

Gilmore said Escambia County will continue to monitor the number of hospitalizations with hope that the number will fall below 50 in the near term. As of Wednesday, there were 116 COVID-19 hospitalizations in Escambia County.

COVID-19 drive-thru testing is currently available as follows:

Ascension Sacred Heart (Thursday & Friday)

The Ascension Sacred Heart drive-thru will be open  through Friday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at 5192 Bayou Boulevard. 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 insured), 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.

Decisions about Ascension Sacred Heart’s testing beyond this week have not been made yet.

Community Health (Thursday only)

Community Health Northwest Florida, in partnership with Escambia County, will offer drive-thru COVID-19 testing Thursday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Brownsville Community Center, 3200 West Desoto Street. The PCR test will be available; no rapid tests.

The event is open to all ages with no pre-screening or appointment required. Participants should wear a mask, and bring their photo identification and insurance card (if insured).


One Response to “COVID-19 Positivity At 50% At Drive-thru Testing Site; Official Says That’s Not Necessarily Concerning”

  1. Josh Jones on January 7th, 2022 9:48 am

    Don’t be fooled by political statements downplaying the importance of testing. We should test when we have symptoms associated with Covid. But we should also test when we think we may have been exposed to Covid. If you went to a holiday family gathering and now your aunt says she has Covid, go get tested. Why? If you test positive you can isolate yourself from others – including those most susceptible, such as grandma and others who have certain health conditions.

    This is how we fight Covid: test, isolate if positive, keep others safe by not infecting them.

Have a comment on this story?

We welcome your comments on this story, but there are some rules to follow::

(1) Be Nice. No comments that slander another, no racism, no sexism, no personal attacks.

(2) No Harrassing Comments. If someone says something bad about you, don't respond. That's childish.

(3) No Libel. That's saying something is not true about someone. Don't do it.

(4) Keep it clean. Nothing vulgar, obscene or sexually related. No profanity or obvious substitutions. Period.

(5) reserves the right to remove any comments that violate our rules or we think to be inappropriate. We are not responsible for what is posted. Comments may not appear right away until they are approved by a moderator.

(6) Limit your comments to the subject in this story only, and limit comments to 300 words or less. Do not post copyrighted material. Comments will not be added to stories that are over 30 days old.

(7) No posts may advertise a commercial business or political group, or link to another commercial web site or political site of any kind.