PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. – The lines got longer at C.B. Smith Park in Pembroke Pines on Thursday as coronavirus testing expanded to adults without symptoms.
Free testing conducted by Memorial Health and the National Guard is available for everyone 18 and older. You can also get retested at this site if you have gone 14 days since an initial diagnosis of COVID-19.
“We’ve seen a tremendous increase of volume,” said Dr. Jennifer Goldman, Memorial’s medical director.
Goldman said the site saw 300 new registrations Wednesday, and they’re almost fully booked for Thursday and Friday. The C.B. Smith site can do 800 tests per day, but preregistration is required by calling 954-276-4680 from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Testing itself takes about 15 minutes and results come back in 2-4 days.
The testing of asymptomatic people is critical to truly understanding where the virus is spreading, experts say, since people can carry COVID-19 without knowing it.
Another major testing site, Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens remains open daily and you don’t need an appointment.
They can do up to 750 tests a day. You can get tested there if you have symptoms, or you have an underlying medical condition, or if you’ve been in close contact with someone who tested positive, or if you’re a first responder or health care worker.
Gov. Ron DeSantis and other local leaders have acknowledged that more testing is needed as they discuss reopening Florida and its economy.
“If you look at the testing, we are now at 289,000 individuals, one for every 74 people,” DeSantis said. “In South Florida, we are one in every 50.”
Thursday evening, the department of health said that number of tests statewide has increased to over 303,000. Of those, 9.8% have come back positive for COVID-19.
DeSantis is also hoping antibody testing will help, with those possibly coming in before the week is over.
“What we need to control the outbreak is to test everyone who is symptomatic, and then to test all their close contacts, so we can find the asymptomatic people,” said Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease specialist at Florida International University.