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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Mar. 19, 202002:53 PM EST

City opening testing site at Prime Osborn Convention Center

It will partner with Baptist Health and Telescope Health LLC to open the site March 20.
by: Mike Mendenhall Staff Writer

The city and two Jacksonville-based health care providers will open a locally sponsored COVID-19 testing site March 20 at the Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center. 

Mayor Lenny Curry announced the public-private partnership with Baptist Health and Telescope Health LLC during a news conference March 19. 

The Downtown site at 1000 Water St. will be open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

Curry said drive-thru testing at the Prime Osborn will be for Duval County residents exhibiting symptoms, and people will have to be screened using Telescope Health’s virtual platform at or its mobile application before arriving.

“I know a lot of citizens are concerned about this virus and want to be tested. But in order for things to run smoothly, there has to be a scheduling and screening process,” Curry said.

The drive-thru testing facility at the Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center.

The test will cost $25 upfront by using a promotional code “HERE4YOU” on the Telescope Health mobile app. Curry said the city is working with the medical technology company to ensure Duval County patients are reimbursed using city dollars.

Telescope Health CEO Matthew Rill said that after downloading the smartphone application, the patient must register and answer questions. The person then will speak with a physician by phone.

Telescope Health will consult with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and the Duval County Health Department to see if the patient is a candidate for testing. 

Those qualified will receive an order and time slot to be tested outside the Prime Osborn. Curry said people will need to bring the order number, their own pen and their driver’s license to be tested at the city site.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office will check people in at the gate.

Telescope Heath co-founder Dr. Matthew Thompson said officials expect test results to take three to five days, and officials will work with medical diagnostic company Laboratory Corp of America Holdings, or LabCorp, and Quest Diagnostics to notify patients of results.

Thompson said five Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department first responders were swabbed March 18 at the site. 

Baptist Health CEO Brett McClung.

Baptist Health had 10 medical professionals preparing the site March 19 and were expected to test more first responders and medical personnel before opening it to the public March 20.

“It’s a substantial investment of people’s time. We will provide nurses and physicians. Telescope Health will also provide physicians,” said Brett McClung, Baptist Health CEO. “Certainly, there is an investment but we’ve de-emphasized what that is at the moment to provide services to the people in the community that need to be tested.” 

Curry urges Duval County patients without internet and smartphone access or who cannot afford the upfront fee to use the federal government-sponsored drive-thru testing site expected to open this weekend at TIAA Bank Field.

A city spokesperson said “hundreds of people” caused traffic congestion when they lined up March 18 at Lot J near the stadium.

The city is advising people to not visit the federal site until it opens. 

Curry expects to hold another briefing March 20 about the TIAA Bank Field testing facility.

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