New coronavirus testing site opens at Tropical Park

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A new coronavirus testing site opened Monday at Tropical Park in Miami-Dade County.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez held a news conference at the new location Monday morning and said the site has the capacity to test 1,100 people per day.

He said testing is free at the state-supported testing site and testing is available to anyone ages 5 and older, regardless of their symptoms.

All testing will be self-administered with an oral swab and people will remain in their vehicles at all times.

The location will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., including on weekends.

Gimenez said all county-run testing sites will have doubled their capacity by the end of the week to test at least 1,000 people a day.

The new location is one of several to come online in the past week as experts try to tamp down the surging positivity rate.

“We’re starting to see improving signs in the COVID-19 positivity rate and hospitalizations, but it will take many weeks to get back on track and reduce the spread,” Gimenez said.

And with more testing comes more lab work, causing some people to wait up to a week, if not longer, to get their results. It’s something the deputy mayor says they are trying to fix by partnering with the state to increase lab capacity.

“Last week, we’re looking at four to five days (to get results). But there are a lot of anecdotal stories about people waiting much longer and we don’t want that to happen,” Deputy Mayor Maurice Kemp said.

Gimenez said the Tropical Park site has its own lab to analyze tests, so testing there won’t affect the county’s lab capacity. He said they are also working to bring additional labs online to speed up the wait time for results.

The testing update comes as parents await a decision from the school superintendent about whether to have in-person classes this fall.

The mayor said the current statistics would make it tough.

“As long as we have around a 20% positivity rate, it’s going to be very difficult, I think, to open up schools in a normal fashion,” he said. “The superintendent, I know that he has the option of delaying the start of school; maybe that would be a good idea.”

County leaders are looking into adding nighttime testing for those who are working or otherwise unavailable to be tested during the day.

Click here to schedule an appointment at any of the county’s COVID-19 testing locations.

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