MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Change is on the way for the Hard Rock Stadium testing site, potentially allowing even more people to be tested.
Mike Jachles of the Florida Association of Public Information Officers expects a large turnout Monday.
“On Monday, when we open for testing, the criteria will change,” he said. “This will greatly enhance the ability for us to do more testing.”
Beginning Monday at 9 a.m., the site will allow anyone with symptoms to get tested. Previously, that was limited to people ages 65 or older.
All healthcare workers and first responders will still be welcome, as well as anyone who has had close contact with an infected individual, regardless of symptoms.
Officials said no appointments will be needed in order to be tested.
Jachles said traffic control at the site has been increased to help process cars rapidly.
The changes come as state officials have now taken over operations of the Hard Rock Stadium site, which was previously run by the federal government.
“There have been federal partners from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services here as well. They’ve been demobilized. This was (at first) a federal site to get it up and running quicker,” Jachles.
There will be another change in the testing procedure. The uncomfortable nose swabs have been replaced with throat swabs.
“It’s much more tolerable, especially if we’re going to be testing children or small children as well,” Jachles said.
Since the site first opened, more than 11,400 people have been tested at the Hard Rock Stadium, more than any other National Guard testing site in South Florida.
Officials are hoping the latest changes will further increase those testing totals.
“It’s been a very ambitious effort. It’s going well, and we hope to continue it and get as many people tested that need that testing,” Jachles said.
At three other National Guard testing sites, C.B. Smith Park has performed 11,343 test; Marlins Park, 3,959 tests and Amelia Earhart Park, 1,319.