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Drive-up coronavirus testing at offices in The Villages and Ocala

District manager Shelby Zellner, left, and office manager Antonia Trent prepare to pre-screen patients as they enter a Premier Medical Associates office in The Villages on Monday. Photo: Joe Byrnes

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A Central Florida group of medical offices has begun providing drive-up coronavirus testing at two of its 14 clinics in Central Florida.

The testing outside Premier Medical Associates offices in Ocala and The Villages can be scheduled after a tele-visit with a doctor. Patients stay in their cars next to tents in the parking lot.

Director of Operations Craig Esquenazi says a test is scheduled if the patient has symptoms. His company is trying to protect staff and other patients from exposure to COVID-19.

“So what we came up with is trying to do mobile testing,” he said outside an office in The Villages. “So this way people wouldn’t have to get out of their car, they wouldn’t have to come into the clinic, they could be screened, we could send the test in, and the results usually come back within about 48 hours, and they’ll know. So they have to self-quarantine themselves after they do the test.”

Premier Medical is starting with about a hundred tests and is hoping to receive more from the government.

“So after we use the hundred tests,” Esquenazi said. “I don’t have any more to test people with. As more tests come in, we will test as many people as we can.”

Premier Medical chose The Villages and Ocala locations because of the older, more vulnerable populations there.


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Joe Byrnes

About Joe Byrnes

Reporter

Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.

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