WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – The local nonprofit, FoundCare, has just set up Palm Beach County's first free drive-through testing site for the coronavirus.
The testing started Monday morning at FoundCare’s parking lot near West Palm Beach and is open to residents who have called the organization to complete a screening process and have scheduled an appointment.
“We don’t want to risk the fact that one patient will infect many, and so, we decided maybe we’ll do it outside where it’s a bit safer,” FoundCare CEO Yolette Bonnet said.
Those who do not have an appointment and an appointment code will be turned away.
FoundCare’s hotline is now active.
Prospective patients must call 561-967-0365 to be screened.
Patients will be asked if they meet specific criteria.
Richard Durant was approved for a test. He qualified to test because he is 68 and has COPD, which is a group of lung diseases that make it difficult to breath.
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Since we won’t know his test results for three days and he may test positive, Local 10 News reporter Saira Anwer didn’t speak to him face-to-face, but rather over a video app.
“They took a nose swab and put it all the way back in my nostril -- a little uncomfortable but nothing bad, and then they took it out,” Durant said. “And so it was very quick, it was painless and just a little uncomfortable but nothing to write home about. I’m glad I did it.”
A doctor Local 10 News spoke to Monday at FoundCare said she hopes everyone eventually has access to testing, but that frustratingly is not yet the case here.
The organization only has about 100 tests.
Infectious disease expert Dr. Leslie Diaz said the following patients should be calling to schedule a test: “Patients who in the population of patients who have been exposed to somebody and/or patients who have traveled recently, whether (by) cruise, plane, etc.”
Testing started at 10 a.m., but the hotline to call ahead and get an entry code opened at 8 a.m.
Those phone lines are open now, but again, if you don’t meet testing criteria and don’t get an entry code you cannot just show up.
Only 100 tests are available Monday, but the organization hopes to get more daily.
Elsewhere, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced late Monday afternoon that he is working with health officials to set up a drive-thru testing site closer to Broward County, with one proposed location being Hard Rock Stadium.
Visit Foundcare.org for more information.