MIRAMAR, FLA. (WSVN) - A new testing site has opened in Broward County, as demand for COVID-19 testing remains high across South Florida.
On Wednesday, a testing site in Synder Park opened. The site is located on Southwest Fourth Avenue in Fort Lauderdale and will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
7News cameras captured cars lined up at the site before it opened.
“5:30 [a.m.],” one man said is when he got in line. “Terrible place we’re in right now with the COVID.”
“It’s been tough,” said Ron Lachica with Allied Health.
Lachica said this winter surge has been challenging. He said he hopes the new sites will bring relief to long lines seen at testing sites around the county.
“When they start to direct the traffic in here and they start filling out the QR codes, the line will go much, much more quicker,” he said.
“With the new arrangement here at Synder Park, we are now going to be able to accommodate up to 1,500 tests per day,” said Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis.
There is no appointment needed for this testing site. Walk-ins and drive-ups are welcomed. Those who want to get tested have the option of taking a PCR test or a rapid test.
“By knowing whether or not you are positive, whether you have symptoms or not, is an important factor in understanding how we’re going to prevent the spread of this disease,” said Trantalis.
According to Jackson Health officials, 468 patients at their facilities have tested positive for COVID-19, but out of those cases, nearly 50% were admitted to the hospital for non-coronavirus-related reasons.
Four new testing sites are also set to open across Broward County throughout the week in locations at Miramar, Lauderhill, Coconut Creek and Davie.
The FTX Arena in Miami has also been open for the past few days, those getting tested have said the line goes quickly.
“Common sense would suggest that if there’s even the possibility of a spread of this virus that we would take every precaution we believe that every tool in our arsenal should be undertaken in order to prevent the spread of this disease,” said Trantalis.
“Over the last several weeks and over the holidays, we have seen a significant and rapid increase in COVID-19 cases,” said Dr.Rochelle Walensky, CDC Director.
In Miami-Dade County, long lines formed at the Miami Marine Stadium, a new testing site that opened at 8 a.m., Tuesday.
“I need to get tested because I’m traveling tomorrow. I need the rapid [test],” said a woman waiting to get tested.
“Miami residents shouldn’t have to make a choice between the time it takes to get tested and their health,” said Miami Mayor Francis Suarez.
“We are going to see the omicron subsiding as they have in other parts of the world, and so that’s what we’re counting on. Everybody to be as safe as they can, to avoid transmission as best as they can. Hold tight, this too will pass,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.
“Over the past month we have seen the percentage of omicron cases increase and the percentage of delta cases decrease,” said Walensky.
Hospitalizations have been increasing everyday, though nearly not as much as this past summer.
Nationwide, there are currently 119,897 people hospitalized with COVID-19. In Florida, 7,647 patients have been reported at hospitals while 843 of them are in ICUs.
According to data from the United States Department of Health and Human Services, 202 children are hospitalized in Florida with COVID.
In Miami-Dade, 1,884 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 and in Broward, 1,209 people are hospitalized with the virus.
If you are to feeling symptoms, testing has become one of the main ways the CDC says we will be able to get through this, to make sure you’re healthy.
“If that test comes out positive, people should stay home for those extra five days, and if the test is negative people really do need to understand that they must continue to wear their masks for those extra five days,” said Walensky.
Something that doesn’t typically last hours in a line are vaccines.
The CDC panell has now approved vaccine booster shots for 12-15 year-olds, another layer of protection for the 13 million preteens and young teenagers that have received the Pfizer shot.
The only shot approved for children who are now being hospitalized with COVID at an increasing rate.
“In general, omicron appears to be a less severe disease across the board, but the sheer volume of infections of it’s profound transmissibility mean many more children will get infected,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, Chief medical advisor to the president. “And as many more get infected, a certain proportion of them, usually children that have underlying commodities are goin to wind up in the hospital.”
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