SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Long lines of vehicles were seen at different South Florida testing sites as early as 4 a.m. on Wednesday as COVID cases continue to rise.
The high traffic volume at local testing sites comes as Florida reported nearly 13,000 new COVID cases on Monday, the highest single-day increase in months, but thankfully, no new deaths.
The long lines show how high the demand for testing is just days before Christmas.
“The recent increase in COVID cases has increased demand for testing and the antibody treatment,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine-Cava.
Just days before Christmas, the county faces a shortage of the Regeneron monoclonal antibody treatments, which are said to reduce the risk of hospitalization and death by 70%.
Levine Cava said the treatment is available at other locations, including some area hospitals.
She said the county will be receiving a smaller supply this week, but that she had to reach out to the state department and the White House to request more.
Hialeah will also soon be making the treatment avaliable.
Hialeah Mayor Esteban Bovo said that the testing will be first come first serve although the treatments will be done by appointment.
Levine Cava said there will be two new testing sites. Between 40,000 and 50,000 people have been testing in a day, she said.
“They’ve assured us that more doses will be sent to Florida,” said Levine Cava.
University of Florida researchers predicted omicron cases could peak around February. Researchers also believe the cases are actually much higher. They believe that people are likely not reporting them because they have mild symptoms or are Asymptomatic.
“We had an appointment one hour ago,” said one man waiting in line.
Long lines were also seen at Miami-Dade College North Campus and Mills Pond Park in Fort Lauderdale.
“One hour and 23 minutes,” said one woman in line.
C.B. Smith Park in Pembroke Pines was no different.
Health experts said vaccines and boosters are the best defense against the virus.
“The takeaway also is, get you vaccines and get boosted if you’re eligible. We’re seeing from the data and the hospitals that those really are leading to the best outcomes all the way around,” said Broward County Mayor Michael Udine.
Levine Cava said the county has received hundreds of at-home testing kits, although many are still heading to the emergency room, which has been putting a stress on healthcare facilities.
If you are experiencing symptoms or test positive for COVID, health experts have said to stay home, avoid other people and wear a mask.
After nearly two years since the start of the pandemic, we have more tools to fight the virus.
On Wednesday, the U.S. approved the first pill against COVID-19, the Pfizer prescription pill will be made available for high risk patients first.
“We are doing everything possible to ensure that we’re ready to make it available, right here at our testing sites in Miami-Dade,” said Levine Cava.
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