Where to get free COVID-19 tests on the Treasure Coast during the omicron variant surge

Thomas Weber
Treasure Coast Newspapers

Cases of the highly contagious omicron variant are surging nationwide, so the demand for COVID-19 tests has skyrocketed.

Florida reported 298,455 COVID-19 cases in the week ending Dec. 30, a 139% increase from the previous week's 124,865 cases. The Treasure Coast reported 4,714 cases last week, a 213% increase from the previous week's 1,503 cases.

Current COVID-19 test processing and availability has varied at most testing sites. Expect long wait times, appointments unavailable for days and few at-home testing kits on store shelves.

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Pharmacies such as CVS and Walgreens had no at-home tests available online as of Thursday, but but the pharmacies still offer lab-based tests. Appointments can be scheduled on CVS' website and Walgreens websites, but time slots aren't available for days at most locations.

Health officials maintain lists of other COVID-19 testing sites, so here's the latest on where you can get tested for free.

St. Lucie County

The county has compiled testing sites and their hours of operation on a spreadsheet.

The Department of Health Allied Health provide free COVID-19 testing at the Gwenda Thompson Career Center, 3855 S. U.S. 1, Fort Pierce. The site accepts walk-ups, and it's open 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays.

The testing site is not restricted to St. Lucie County residents.

The site was unexpectedly closed Monday. Allied Health could not be reached for comment about its closure or the cause.The county list notes that the test supply there has been sporadic.

Free testing is also offered 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Thursday at Florida Community Health Center, 1505 Delaware Ave., Fort Pierce. Appointments and ID are required.

Other testing locations are listed  Health Department website, which can be searched by county and ZIP code.

The Department of Health recommended people call testing sites before going for current information on hours and availability.

Martin County

Free drive-thru COVID-19 testing is offered at the Martin County Fairgrounds from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. No appointment is needed.

Dynix Diagnostix, which operates the site, offers both rapid and PCR-based, nasal-swab tests. Since the holidays, the site has been testing hundreds of people daily.

People should anticipate waits up to two hours in the middle of the day, site manager James Haney said.

The Health Department's Martin County office provides free drive-thru COVID-19 testing, operted by Curative, by appointment, which can be booked on the company's website.

That PCR-based, nasal-swab testing site is at 3441 S.E. Willoughby Blvd., Stuart. Appointments typically must be scheduled at least a day in advance; the site provides about 300 tests per day.

Other Martin County testing locations can be found on the Health Department  county and ZIP code.

Indian River County

Free COVID-19 testing is offered through the Health Department and Curative. Appointments can be booked on Curative's website, typically at least a day in advance.

The drive-thru testing site relocated Friday to the Indian River County Fairgrounds, 7955 58th Ave., Vero Beach, to accommodate increasing demand. It operates from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, and appointments are strongly recommended.

Other testing sites are listed on the Health Department website.

The department  recommended contacting each site for current information on supply, hours and availability.

Thomas Weber is a Digital Now Reporter at TCPalm. You can reach him at thomas.weber@tcpalm.com or 813-545-9113. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.