New COVID-19 testing site opens at Tropical Park; open 7 days a week

SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Confirmed coronavirus cases continue to climb in South Florida, but the latest statistics show they are not climbing as fast or as high as last week.

New testing sites continue to open in the state — the most recent being at Tropical Park located at 7900 S.W. 40th St. in Southwest Miami-Dade.

The site opened on Monday at 9 a.m.

Testing will be conducted at the park seven days a week. An appointment is needed to be tested.

Testing is free for anyone who wishes to get tested, regardless of what symptoms they may present.

Martha Baker, president of SEIU Local 1991, said, “This is getting out of control. Everyday it’s more. We’re all at capacity. We are chasing our tails.”

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said, “We continue to see a rise in the number of people going into ICU. We continue to see a rise in people going on ventilators. The positivity rate is hovering around 20%. We have seen days where it’s been a little low, some days a little bit above, but I think we’re in this for the long haul.”

Baker said, “Our concern is it gets worse, and we’re not prepared to handle beyond capacity.”

At a news conference held Monday morning, Gimenez said the site will be testing at least 1,000 people daily.

“This will be self-administered with an oral swab, so people can remain safe in their cars,” he said. “It’s an easy swab that you will do in your mouth.”

With the help of the state, local leaders said there are now additional labs to assist in providing quicker results.

“The state has also partnered with us to increase our lab capacity in Miami-Dade County,” said Gimenez. “This will help ensure that increased testing does not negatively impact turnaround time for test results.”

The site’s opening came after nearly 9,000 new cases were reported in South Florida.

“We’re still way, way too high in terms of our baseline,” said City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez.

Suarez said the city will now be focusing on enforcement of COVID-19 rules like the mask mandate. He said that hundreds of violation tickets were handed out just last week.

Fear and frustration are high among Hialeah residents after a refrigerated container was installed behind San Jose Funeral Home off East Fourth Avenue.

Residents gathered and protested the placement of the container as they fear it is being used to store deceased COVID-19 patients.

Local healthcare workers produced a video imploring Florida Gov. Ron Desantis to make mask-wearing mandatory.

Monday afternoon, Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber called contact tracing in South Florida a failure and asked in a letter to to DeSantis to step up contact tracing.

In the letter, Gelber said, “The state’s contact tracing program fully failed to cap in subsequent disease surges as we opened our economy.”

He also said, “If we continue at this level of infection, I don’t know how we won’t return to sheltering in place.”

Gelber is calling for at least 800 contact tracers to be hired for the county. There are currently about 500.

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