For the first time, free walk-up COVID-19 testing is being offered in Charlotte County for people who are not experiencing symptoms.

“We wanted to keep it open for the entire community,” said Ellen Pinder, Charlotte County Emergency Management coordinator. “We wanted to make sure that there were no limitations for them to be tested.”

The next testing will take place from 9 a.m. to noon on Thursday at Cooper Street Recreation Center, 650 Mary St., Punta Gorda.

Patients can walk up or stay in their cars, and expect to be there for about five to 10 minutes.

On Tuesday, 89 people got tested, and the Department of Health is expecting more on Thursday.

“We do look at the numbers, and we adjust our testing sites based on that,” Pinder said. “In Port Charlotte, that area was saturated with testing, so we were able to move down here because we saw a need in this community.”

Anyone who wants to be tested can register at coadfl.org, but pre-registration is not necessary.

The Cooper Street testing site is a joint effort between the Charlotte County Department of Health, Charlotte County Emergency Management, the city of Punta Gorda, the Punta Gorda Police Department, the Punta Gorda Fire Department and the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office.

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