South Floridians wait 3 hours for COVID-19 test at Hard Rock Stadium

MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. (WSVN) - Those who are rushing to get tested before Christmas are going to have to deal with long wait times at some South Florida sites.

The waiting time to get tested at the Hard Rock Stadium site was approximately three hours, Tuesday morning.

“We’ve seen an increase in demand,” said Mike Jachles of the Division of Emergency Management.

It appears to be a new tradition during the coronavirus pandemic for South Floridians to rush and get tested before a holiday. However, officials said a negative test result does not mean Christmas celebrations are safe.

On Monday, the site saw an average wait time of two and a half hours. Thousands who are getting tested at the site are hoping to get their COVID-19 test results back before Christmas.

“You’re cutting it close because even at two days, you get it done on Monday, you may have the results Wednesday or Thursday,” said Jachles.

The high demand caused Fort Lauderdale’s COVID-19 test site at Holiday Park to close sporadically at times throughout the day and only reopening when traffic allowed, according to city officials.

Over the weekend, Florida reached a total of 1.2 million COVID-19 cases reported in the state since the start of the pandemic, and more than 20,000 have died. The positivity rate has also hovered around 10% for the past couple of days.

More than 3,000 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported across the state on Tuesday, with over 2,300 new cases alone in Miami-Dade County.

Help is coming for some, though, as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said 300,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine should arrive in the state by Tuesday.

“About 61,000 doses of the Moderna [vaccine] are going to arrive today,” said DeSantis. “Our vaccines are going to be targeted for our elderly population.”

Another 120,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine should also be arriving.

“Our goal is to be able to get it out for folks who are able to help the people as best they can,” said DeSantis. “We will have some community vaccination sites available for older individuals as well as working in conjunction with our hospital systems to be able to deliver as many vaccines as possible. If you’re in the elderly population, this is coming soon.”

The vaccine rollout is still in Phase 1, focusing on healthcare workers on the front lines of the pandemic.

Mercy Hospital began vaccinating their staff on Saturday.

“It’s critical that we keep our staff healthy, so that they can continue to take care of our patients,” said Dr. Mark Multach at Mercy Hospital.

According to the Miami Herald, Jackson Health System has administered all of its Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, over 5,000 in total.

Lauderhill Fire Rescue posted a photo on Tuesday, as firefighters across the county began receiving the vaccine at Central Broward Regional Park.

COVID-19 testing sites across South Florida will be closing for the Christmas holiday.

The Hard Rock Stadium testing site will be closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Testing sites may have different holiday hours, so those who are looking to get tested should call ahead of time.

Meanwhile, Broward County Mayor Steve Geller announced a holiday curfew that runs from Dec. 24 to Jan. 4. The curfew will run from midnight to 5 a.m., but on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, the curfew will begin at 1 a.m.

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