How to get free COVID-19 at-home test in rural parts of Central Florida

Thousands of free COVID-19 tests have been made available in Lake, Marion, Volusia, Sumter, and Orange counties.

As part of the Rural Health Clinic COVID-19 Testing and Mitigation program, thousands of rural health clinics across the country have been given thousands of at-home COVID-19 tests to distribute in their communities. 

Excel Pediatrics & Family Care has gotten about 12,000 COVID-19 tests at their five locations in Clermont, Tavares, Leesburg, and Sumter. The tests are free and available to anyone in the community, not just patients. You can stop by any of their locations here. 

"If anyone is even slightly sick, and have these tests at home, they can test themselves, and if they’re positive they can stay home. They won’t go to work, kids will stay home, and it will reduce the spread," said Dr. Mohammad Afzal of Excel Pediatrics & Family Care. "In this area, there are not many areas where you can find those testing kits so when we get it we’re distributing it to everyone free of charge."

The Florida Hospital Association says because access to COVID-19 tests has been limited, it has been putting a strain on some hospitals.

"Unfortunately, at hospitals, a lot of people have been showing up in the ER seeking testing and while we appreciate the people wanting to get tested, the emergency room is not the right venue," said Mary Mayhew, the President/CEO, Florida Hospital Association.

The organization believes this program is a step in the right direction.

"We need to support greater access in our primary care physicians and in this case for our rural health clinics, so really excited about the support that's coming from the government to these rural health centers to increase access to testing. That will make a big difference," said Mathews.

Find the list of all the practices involved in Florida below.

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