ProHealth opens Shalimar COVID testing site amid surge in cases
SHALIMAR — ProHealth, a family owned medical care provider in Northwest Florida, opened a new COVID testing location Wednesday.
In December 2020, ProHealth opened a testing site in Fort Walton Beach, but the site was closed when the COVID numbers dropped. Due to the recent rise in COVID cases, ProHealth has decided to reopen a test site in a new location.
The new Shalimar testing site offers patients rapid antigen and antibody COVID testing. Located at 4 Ninth Ave., Suite B, the site accepts walk-ins only and is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m.
More Okaloosa COVID data:Vaccination numbers are picking up in Okaloosa County; new cases are starting to level off
“Our offices have been working extremely hard through the new rise in COVID-19," owner Danette Krumel said in a statement. "This expansion will help ensure safety, as well as making the process of getting a COVID test quicker and more efficient.”
COVID testing is available at all eight ProHealth locations, which include facilities in Fort Walton Beach, Crestview, Santa Rosa Beach, Milton, Gulf Breeze and Pensacola.
The Florida Department of Health also maintains a list of locations of testing locations, searchable by city and county, at https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/testing-sites/.
In its most recent Weekly Disease Surveillance Report, the Florida Department of Health in Okaloosa County reported the county has continuously set new records for weekly COVID cases for nearly the past two months.
"For the seventh week in a row, COVID-19 cases increased, community transmission is HIGH, and the number of cases reported is a new high," the report said. "The percent of all COVID-19 tests that are positive is still elevated at 28.6%. The unvaccinated population continues to be the most heavily impacted."
Just eleven weeks ago in early June, the positivity rate was under 5%, according to DOH data.
As of Aug. 24, the most recently available data, local hospitals reported they were 93.6% full, according to DOH-Okaloosa. Of all hospital beds in Okaloosa, 58.3% were occupied by COVID-19 patients. More than 89% of persons hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated.
Both the rate of people seeking COVID tests and vaccinations have increased in recent weeks as the number of cases have climbed, although the county still lags behind the national average.
For the week of Aug. 15-21, 49.9% of the Okaloosa County population aged 12 or above have been vaccinated, compared to 60.2% nationally.
For the population aged 18 and above, 52.6% have been vaccinated in Okaloosa County and 62.4% have been vaccinated nationwide. Okaloosa County is slightly ahead of the curve in percentage of population aged 65 and above who are vaccinated, boasting 84.4% locally compared to 81.2% nationally.