Screening lane added to COVID-19 drive-thru site at Orlando Convention Center

COVID-19 testing open to those 65 and older with symptoms, health professionals and first responders

To expedite screening for COVID-19 testing at the Orange County Convention Center, a second lane was added Thursday.

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – To expedite screening for COVID-19 testing at the Orange County Convention Center, a second lane was added Thursday.

“It will be much quicker than yesterday. Opening that the second lane is going to give us a better flow through this area and that’s where we noticed the bulk of the waiting was happening. Once they cross this destination into the parking garage, that wait time was fairly short. This is where the bulk of the waiting happened,” said Florida deployed public information officer Lauren Luna.

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The federal-run testing site is operated by over 260 guardsmen, over 40 nurses and some Florida emergency management officials.

"We're good to go, we have the PPE we need, the personal protective equipment. Nurses conducting the initial screening. Civilian nurses contracted by the state are also taking on-site temperatures," said Luna.

The drive-thru testing site is open to people 65 years of age or older with respiratory symptoms and an on-site temperature of 99.6 or higher. Testing is also open to medical staff and first responders with a valid agency ID.

When asked why testing is not open to others who may have been exposed to the virus, Luna said the testing site is federally run, and the staff is following the mandate and criteria given at this time by federal officials.

On Wednesday, 247 people and turned away 81 who did not meet the age requirement.

"The one thing I would suggest is just come prepared. Bring your patience. We had questions about restrooms and that stays the same. Just make sure you're ready to wait in your car," said Luna. "If there's multiple people being tested in the vehicle, try to sit on the same side of the vehicle. That will really help once you get to the testing area where they're doing the swabs."

News 6 did not get an immediate answer about when patients can expect to get their test results.

"We don't have an answer on that just yet. They will be contacted by someone with the Florida Department of Health," said Luna.

Those who plan to get tested for COVID-19 at the Orlando convention center are asked to stay in their car and make sure they have a valid ID with them. Patients will not be able to use the bathrooms on site.

The site is limited to 250 tests per day.

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About the Author:

Crystal Moyer is a morning news anchor who joined the News 6 team in 2020.