Financial assistance may be available for qualified individuals in our community. For additional information, please call 211.
Use the COVID-19 Screening Tool online if you or someone you are caring for is experiencing symptoms.
Drive-Thru Testing Locations
Call before visiting any testing location.
- BayCare Testing Centers Haines City: Pre-screening is necessary before accessing any BayCare COVID-19 testing site.
- Central Florida Health Care, Inc.: COVID-19 testing for ESTABLISHED CURRENT PATIENTS who are showing COVID-19 symptoms. If you meet the criteria above, please call 866.234.8534 for location information and more.
- Lakeland Regional Health: Call your LRH provider (863.284.5000) or the hospital and ask to be connected to the Emergency Department (863.687.1100) ahead of time for any virus prevention instructions currently in place.
- Polk County Health Department:Call before you come in and visit the Florida Department of Health’s suggestions if you think you may have been exposed to coronavirus.
- Watson Clinic:High-risk patients are prioritized for testing; criteria and more info on their website.
- Private Practices: We do not currently have information on whether specific private practices are doing COVID-19 testing. Call your provider before going in to see if they are offering COVID-19 testing.
Economic Impact Payments/Stimulus Payments from Federal Government
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act authorized stimulus payments to be made to many individuals in the U.S. The distribution of economic impact payments will begin in the next three weeks (mid-April) and will be distributed automatically, with no action required for most people. The payments are available to many people, even people who do not make enough money to file taxes usually. Social Security recipients who are not typically required to file a tax return need to take no action and will receive their payment directly to their bank account. People who are undocumented, lack Social Security numbers, file with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number or adults who were claimed as dependents are not eligible. The amount of these payments varies depending on your financial situation. The IRS will update this page as more information becomes available and you can find more information and FAQs here.
Health Insurance and medical Expenses
If you have health insurance, visit the website of your provider or contact their customer support line with any questions about coverage for COVID-19 testing and treatment. Many healthcare insurers are also making telemedicine available to customers for low to no cost.
If you do not have health insurance, you may be eligible for benefits through the state of Florida. Visit this website to explore options based on your household income, children in the home and state.
If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, fever and shortness of breath) and are concerned that you cannot afford to seek treatment or a test, contact your medical provider or the nearest Urgent Care facility to seek guidance. Free testing for COVID-19 is becoming available in many places, but medical care may still incur a charge. Be sure to ask questions about cost if you seek medical care or treatment.
Home Internet Access
If you do not have internet access at home, or cannot afford to maintain it, but need internet for work or school, there are several options available through providers:
Additionally, many internet providers have announced that they are waiving late payment fees, increasing caps on internet speeds and will not disconnect customers for not paying monthly bills at this time. If you have questions or concerns about your internet connection, contact your provider or visit their website for more information.
Small Business Administration (SBA) Loans for Small Businesses
SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance for a small business. To learn more about the process for accessing SBA’s COVID-19 disaster relief lending, please go here. For additional information, please contact SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-2955 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The U.S. Department of Labor issued guidance for state unemployment insurance programs to extend benefits to individuals whose employment status is impacted by COVID-19. Visit the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity – Reemployment Assistance to connect with reemployment assistance and employers.
Federal Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
Employees are eligible to take FMLA leave if they work for a covered employer and:
- have worked for their employer for at least 12 months
- have at least 1,250 hours of service over the previous 12 months
- and work at a location where at least 50 employees are employed by the employer within 75 miles.
Employers are required to give eligible FMLA workers up to 12 weeks of job-protected (but not necessarily paid) leave if they are sick, including with complications from the flu or a similar illness and/or they need to care for an immediate family member (child, spouse, parents) who are ill. Visit the Department of Labor for more information.
Mortgage, Rent and Utilities Payment Assistance
Temporary assistance is available to qualified individuals. For additional details, please call 211 and follow local news, radio and official social media platforms to learn the latest about additional assistance available in Polk, Hardee and Highlands counties.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)/Food Stamps
Visit the SNAP Eligibility Page to learn more about eligibility requirements. To apply for benefits or get information about SNAP in Florida, visit the Florida Department of Children and Families website.
Contact 211 or check our food distribution schedule for information on food pantries and food distributions in Polk, Hardee and Highlands counties.
Relief for “Gig Economy” Workers & Self Employed
Self-employed workers, including independent contractors, freelancers, people seeking part-time work and those who do not have a long-enough work history to qualify for state unemployment benefits may qualify for benefits under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). Those seeking benefits should check with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.
Mental Health and Crisis
The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people and communities. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. Visit this CDC page to learn more about things you can do to support yourselfand your loved ones. If you need to talk to someone, these resources are confidential and available for free 24/7: