Sarasota COVID-19 test site at Ed Smith Stadium closes unexpectedly amid omicron surge

Staff Report
Motorists wait in line for COVID-19 testing at Ed Smith Stadium earlier. The site was unexpectedly closed Friday, for reasons that are unclear.

The COVID-19 testing site at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota closed unexpectedly on Friday, even though it had been scheduled to be open to meet demand from the surge of the omicron variant.

Sarasota County government and the Sarasota Police Department tweeted about the closure at the site at 2700 12th St. Friday morning. No official reason was given for the closure. 

Previous coverage:Lines form at area COVID-19 testing sites amid after-Christmas omicron surge

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The Police Department tweeted that it had received a report of suspicious activity at the site. 

"Caller said people were giving online links asking for personal info & handing out test kits. Be aware of potential scammers. If you feel unsafe, wait to get into the testing area & ask for credentials," the department said in a tweet.

WFLA-TV Ch. 8 reported that it spoke to a person -- who would not give his last name -- who called in the report, claiming to have been approached by people who asked him to record his personal information on a website but whom he later saw throwing away testing swabs. 

WFLA reported that the Ed Smith testing site is run by Real Diagnostics. The station reported a Real Diagnostics spokesperson said the company had no ties to Oak Crest Lab, the name on the website that patrons were reportedly asked to enter information into. 

Government officials were referring residents to other testing sites open Friday, including: Dallas White Park, 5900 Greenwood Ave., North Port; Robert L. Taylor Community Complex parking lot, 1845 34th St., Sarasota; and former Sarasota Kennel Club, 5400 Old Bradenton Road, Sarasota.

Testing sites have seen huge demand in recent days as the number of COVID-19 cases in Florida continues to skyrocket. People have reported wait times of several hours at some sites. The closure comes at a particularly bad time as all the remaining Sarasota sites are scheduled to be closed Saturday for the New Year's holiday.