80ºF

Could coronavirus testing in SoFla expand to include more people?

Options being considered, official says

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla.UPDATE: Coronavirus testing sites are up and running in Broward and Miami-Dade counties with lines moving along quicker and more people being tested.

The criteria still remains, however, at this time. To get a test to determine if you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 you must be 65 years or older with symptoms or you must be a first responder.

But as lines move more quickly and enough tests are becoming available, more age groups may be included.

Miami Fire Rescue Capt. Ignatius Carroll said as part of local COVID-19 updates that there were plans in the next few days to consider if other groups could be tested. “We’re going to evaluate today, see how the days go, see how tomorrow goes, and if we don’t have as many appointments, we will consider options,” Carroll said Wednesday.

At the debut of the new Marlins Stadium site Wednesday, which currently is only administering tests to seniors with appointments, 257 people were tested. There were enough kits at that site for 300 people. The decrease in the amount of people getting tested could be due to the fact that there wasn’t enough time the day before to make an appointment.

Also at that site, some people showing up for coronavirus testing Wednesday were turned away. About 71 drivers were told to leave because they didn’t have appointments.

Teresa Contreras, a private practice doctor was told to leave.

“We don’t have an appointment and they aren’t testing healthcare providers and first responders,” she said.

Organizers at Marlins Park said Thursday’s appointments were completely booked.

For Marlins Park testing, call (305) 499-8767 beginning at 9 a.m. The call center will remain open daily at 9 a.m. and will remain open until all appointment slots for the next day have been filled. Daily testing at this site is only available for 300 people.

Only individuals 65 years of age or older who have COVID-19 symptoms should call for an appointment. The address is 501 Marlins Way, Miami.

On Day 4 of testing at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, the wait times appeared to be going down. Hard Rock Stadium is a site for first responders, such as firefighters, law enforcement/corrections and medical staff with a valid agency ID, according to miamidade.gov/global/initiatvies/coronavirus/home.page.

As of 5 p.m. Thursday, 531 people, first responders and healthcare workers, in addition to those 65 or older who met the criteria, were tested. There were 360 people who did not meet the criteria and had to be turned away.

Those that aren’t first responders or healthcare workers, must be 65 or older and have an on-site temperature of 99.6 degrees or higher and respiratory symptoms.

Wait times also at C.B. Smith Park in Pembroke Pines were quicker than in its first few days of operations.

A telephone pre-registration process has been established to reduce the wait times at the C.B. Smith Park COVID-19 drive through test collection site.

Hours of Reservation Line/C.B. Smith Park

Call 954-276-4680 daily from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Those three testing sites had no shortage of supplies, but it was a different story at a drive through testing site in Pompano Beach, which was forced to close Wednesday. They had plenty of testing kits, but not enough swabs to take samples.

The Florida Department of Health has set up a special hotline, which is open 24 hours a day, for anyone needed information. The number to call is (866) 779-6121. You can also email them at COVID@flhealth.gov.

The Centers for Disease Control has more information to help in decision making about seeking care or getting tested.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/testing.html


About the Authors: