As Florida’s cases of COVID-19 increase, free testing is available in Lake and Orange Counties. A PCR test (also know as a molecular, or RNA test) should be used to test for active COVID-19 infections. Antibody tests (free finger-prick tests) are not recommended by the CDC or Florida Department of Health to diagnose active COVID-19 infections. Scroll down for a list of free PCR test locations.
WHEN TO QUARANTINE
People who test positive should self-isolate. Anyone who has been in close contact with someone who tested positive should quarantine. Close contact is defined as indoor or outdoor contact within six feet for 15 minutes or more within a 24-hour period. The quarantine can end after Day 10 if no symptoms are present. Alternatively, quarantine can end after Day 7 with a negative test taken on Day 5 or later. Appropriate tests are RT-PCR tests or antigen tests with 70% sensitivity.
The new CDC guidelines advise people should continue to watch for symptoms (headaches, fever, a cough, runny nose, sore throat or a loss of taste or smell) for 14 days after possible exposure. People can continue to quarantine for 14 days without testing per existing recommendations. This option maximally reduces risk of post-quarantine transmission, according to the CDC.
FREE LOCAL COVID-19 TESTING :
Free testing sites include CVS pharmacies which offer nasal swab PCR tests and Curative Labs which has highly accurate PCRmouth swab testing at three convenient Orange County locations. Appointments can be made quickly on their websites and only minor symptoms are required. PCR tests are considered the most accurate COVID-19 tests available. The optimum time for testing to detect the virus is 5 to 7 days after exposure or upon symptom onset.
The Florida Department of Health in Lake County (DOH-Lake) also offers free PCR nasal swab tests for residents and non-residents. No symptoms are required and children may also be tested at these locations. Locations are subject to change, so check with DOH-Lake for the current location.
For anyone that isn't mobile, Costco offers its members in-home saliva PCR tests for $140 online. Local outpatient clinics, labs and private providers may also provide testing, but the public should inquire if they administer the preferred PCR test or less accurate rapid antigen tests.
TIMING OF TESTS
PCR tests taken 5-7 days from exposure or upon symptom onset are recommended for more accurate diagnosis of active COVID-19 infections (see below).
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Click on the above guidelines to enlarge.
For questions, call the Florida Department of Health COVID-19 Hotline at (352) 742-4830. The hotline is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more news and events in Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustis, click here. For local things to do, click here and for the area's free mobile app, click here.