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Beginning Thursday, free COVID-19 testing will be offered at the Hernando County Fairgrounds.

You can get a free COVID-19 test starting at 7 a.m. Thursday at the Hernando County Fairgrounds.

The Florida Department of Health-Hernando is partnering with NOMI Health to offer the testing, according to the Florida Department of Health. The drive-thru site will be open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

DOH-Hernando administrator Robin Napier told the County Commission on Tuesday that vaccine demand has dropped, but demand for testing has risen in the county. The county is about 52% vaccinated, she said.

Since Aug. 1, there have been 1,520 cases of COVID, and the county is averaging 190 new cases per day.

The new testing site, Napier said, will hopefully ease some of the tension in the community over COVID.

Commissioner Jeff Holcomb asked Napier what people should do if they think they are experiencing symptoms.

If you’re feeling sick or ill, get the test and then isolate until you get the results back to avoid spreading to anyone else.

People who have had the vaccine are still getting sick, but they’re not getting as sick as those who are unvaccinated.

The testing site entrance is on the back side of the fairgrounds, entering from Oliver Street. Residents should be prepared to stay in their vehicles while awaiting testing. Restroom facilities will not be available. Only people who are being tested should be in the vehicle, with the exception of parents, guardians or caregivers. No pets are permitted in the vehicle during tests.

Symptoms of COVID-19 may include:

· Fever or chills

· Cough

· Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

· Fatigue

· Muscle or body aches

· Headache

· New loss of taste or smell

· Sore throat

· Congestion or runny nose

· Nausea or vomiting

· Diarrhea

Napier said most of the people in the hospitals are unvaccinated.

All of the local hospitals have stopped taking transfers from other counties, Napier said, noting that Oak Hill has about 100 COVID patients and the other two have about 90 COVID patients each.