SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Long lines of cars continue to sit at testing sites across South Florida as the omicron variant increases across the United States.
Miami-Dade County has stepped in to get some control on the testing troubles.
They began distributing at-home testing kits to relieve some of the traffic at testing sites across the county.
Westchester Library is one of 27 libraries where distributions began at 9:30 a.m. on Monday.
Several residents began lining up as soon as 5 a.m. The line stretched an entire block down Coral Way.
“People in the end, maybe they don’t make it,” said a man.
This resulted in the distribution starting an hour ahead of schedule.
“It’s better to be early,” one man said. “They don’t bring you too many. They’re only gonna bring you a couple of thousands, and maybe by 10 o’clock, it’s gone.”
When asked why he wanted at-home tests, one man said, “My dad is 92 and he tested positive. My mother is 87 and she tested positive. My sister that lived with them tested positive. It’s insane.”
At-home testing kits were limited to three per household.
There was a brief pause during the distribution when they ran out of at-home tests. Soon after, a truck arrived with several more, eliciting cheers from the crowd.
As of noon, Westchester Library ran out of kits.
It was also a busy day at a library branch in Aventura.
The distribution of the at-home test kits follows a weekend where COVID testing sites across Miami-Dade County saw heavy traffic.
Hundreds of residents waited in line for hours along Bird Road to get tested at Tropical Park.
“Just woke up with some symptoms, and we thought, ‘Let’s be safe, not sorry,'” said one woman waiting to be tested.
“We’re traveling tomorrow,” one man said. “We wanna make sure that we are clean.”
Long lines were also seen at Miami Dade College North Campus and a pop-up site along 79th Street and Biscayne Boulevard in Miami.
The increase in demand for testing comes as Florida continues to report record numbers of COVID-19 cases.
On Thursday, 31,758 cases were reported while on Friday there were 32,850 reported cases.
“We’re not making any excuses for it, we should have had more tests available,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, during an interview with CNN.
Fauci said he believes there will be some relief in the coming weeks.
“The tests that the president is putting out there, as well as putting online the capability of essentially ordering tests and having them delivered to your home and setting up about 10,000 to 20,000 testing centers throughout the country, particularly in those cities that are having high surges,” he said, “so things are gonna change substantially in the first couple of weeks and as we get into the middle of January.”
For the list of libraries distributing at-home testing kits, click here.
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