Starting January 25, the drive-thru Covid testing at Gulfview Square Mall will reduce its hours of operation to Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 8 to 11am.

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – Pasco County announces a shift next week away from COVID-19 testing to prioritizing COVID-19 vaccinations.

While testing will still be available at the site on specific days, beginning next week, the Pasco County Department of Health will be limiting it’s weekly schedule of COVID-19 testing. Starting January 25, 2021 the drive-thru testing site at Gulfview Square Mall in Pasco County located at 9409 U.S. Highway 19 in New Port Richey will reduce its hours of operation to three days per week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 8 to 11am.

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County health officials say the rest of the week not being used for COVID-19 testing, will instead be used for coronavirus vaccinations, to meet the needs of the community, something many residents are happy about.

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One Pasco County resident, Margaret Fess welcomes the change, saying, “Ugh. It’s been a nightmare.” For Fess and her 80-year-old diabetic mother, the past year has been difficult. “We haven’t seen her, hugged her, other than from the sidewalk, 30 feet away for almost a year!”

That’s why Fess has been doing everything she can to get a coronavirus vaccine appointment for her mother for weeks now. “Every time I’ve been in on any of the systems, it’s never been – two to five minutes and every appointment is gone,” said Fess. She’s also had issues with the registration website freezing. “I’m desperate to try to get her an appointment. Seriously, this has become by full time job.”

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But hearing that the county is shifting its resources and adjusting its weekly schedule to focus on COVID-19 vaccinations, gives Fess a glimpse of hope. “Now that we have a vaccine, everyone wants it. I guess it’s significantly better than nothing at all.”

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With more time being allotted for COVID-19 vaccines in Pasco County, Fess says she can’t wait to get her mother an appointment. “I mean, she’s our mom. We miss her a lot and we want her to be able to be protected so she can come back into our family and so she can do things.”

CW44 News At 10 will provide further updates as they are made available.

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