SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Long lines of vehicles were seen at different South Florida testing sites on Tuesday 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 high case count is in part due to the omicron variant, which according to the Miami-Dade County mayor, is spreading like wildfire.
On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the omicron variant passed delta as the dominant coronavirus variant.
In a speech delivered Tuesday afternoon, President Joe Biden announced his administration is buying half a billion at home rapid tests to be distributed for free.
He also announced more federal testing sites across the nation.
On Tuesday morning, there was a brief halt in testing at the Tropical Park site due to lightning in the area, but by noon, the tents were back up and the line was moving once again.
7SkyForce hovered over a long line of vehicles wrapped around Miami Dade College North Campus in Northwest Miami-Dade.
The demand for testing is so high that at C.B. Smith Park in Pembroke Pines, police announced lines would be cut off at 5 p.m.
“I come to this site regularly, it’s never been this busy,” said one person waiting to get tested.
South Floridians are rushing to get tested after an uptick in cases.
“If I’m positive, then I can’t go to work,” said Christian Perez as he waited in line.
Just days before Christmas, the county faces a shortage of the Regeneron monoclonal antibody treatments, which are said to reduce risk of hospitalization and death by 70%.
“We in fact have been informed they ran out at Tropical Park,” said Levine Cava.
The mayor said the treatment is available at other locations including some area hospitals
“There is a supply coming in tomorrow through Sunday, a smaller supply, and so we’re going to be helping those who are most at risk,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.
But the mayor said she has reached out to the Florida Department of Health and the White House requesting more.
“They’ve assured us that more doses will be sent to Florida,” said Levine Cava.
As COVID cases continue to rise, a man in Texas was announced as the first to die from the new variant.
Symptoms from the omicron strain appear to be more mild.
Officials said vaccines and boosters are the best defense against the virus.
“Those going into the hospital, 70-plus percent are unvaccinated,” said Levine Cava.
Many South Floridians are wanting to stay safe and take the necessary precautions by getting tested, as health experts advise they should.
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