Miami-Dade County launches program for self-swab tests, fines for social distancing violations

MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. (WSVN) - Miami-Dade County has launched a pilot program aiming to curb the spread of the coronavirus Friday.

The goal is to get the results of the test within 72 hours.

One of them allows people who are showing symptoms of COVID-19 to go to the Hard Rock Stadium testing site in Miami Gardens for a self-swab. It’s an effort to reduce wait times for testing and results.

Mike Jachles, PIO for the Florida Development Team, said, “The goal of the self-swab testing for people with COVID symptoms, is to get their results in 72 hours. There is a nurse there to supervise the test. They can’t administer it, but they supervise it.”

The self-swab tests are also being conducted at the War Memorial Auditorium in Fort Lauderdale.

7News Photojournalist Scott Tobin took a self-swab test in front of cameras.

Only two other testing sites in the state allows this service.

“I want to stress once again until you see me blue in the face, everyone must take personal responsibility,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said.

In a virtual update on Friday morning, Gimenez spoke about the second program taking effect, which allows police and code enforcement officers to issue $100 citations to people who are not following mask and social distancing mandates.

“Somebody can tap you on the shoulder and say, ‘Hey, here’s a citation for you not wearing a mask,'” he said.

Gimenez said he was caught off guard by City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez announcing his meeting with business owners along with his consideration of another lockdown in the city.

“This patchwork doesn’t help anybody, the patchwork confuses the people of Miami-Dade County,” he said. “It goes back to the point that we need to have one unified voice. I didn’t know about the meeting, and so, that’s OK. Today we’ll talk about it, and hopefully, he’ll be on this call at 3:00, and we’ll talk about it, and we’ll discuss with the other mayors about what they’re thinking.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said, “We have a couple companies who have a good track record, and the goal is to get that turned around a lot quicker than we’ve been seeing in some of these other commercial labs. But I can tell you, we’ve had a lot of luck dealing with one of these companies with our longterm care testing, typically that will get sent, and we’ll get a result by the time the lab receives the specimen in under 30 hours.”

If the self-swabbing is successful, officials said more sites will pop up throughout the state.

Jachles said, “Obviously, we need to see what works best with it, and if it goes well, the state will make a determination how and when to expand it.”

With COVID-19 cases climbing and the death toll rising to record numbers, Carlos Migoya, CEO of Jackson Health Systems, Miami-Dade’s public hospital network, is looking to calm concerns over hospital capacity.

“We have plans B, C and D as to how we convert our recovery beds and how we convert other things to ICU beds. We are not at that point at this time,” he said.

Gimenez said hospitalizations remain the most crucial number for him in determining how the county moves forward but, once more, stresses the importance of personal responsibility.

“It’s all in our hands, and we need to keep our masks on, keep our distance on, and even inside the house now we need to be a little more careful,” he said.

You must be at least 5 years old be showing symptoms in order to self-swab.

As far as testing is concerned, the Hard Rock Stadium has been conducting 500 self-swab tests per day while the War Memorial Auditorium has 1,000 tests.

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