ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – For the second day in a row coronavirus testing at the Orange County Convention Center reached capacity before noon. This comes one day after the testing requirements expanded, accepting people of any age and those with underlying health problems.
If there’s such a need, why only test 250 people per day? A spokesperson for this site said that the number was decided on a federal level.
“That federally mandated number is what we must follow, so while we have 2,400 tests, we are only able to perform 250 a day. You may be thinking ‘well, the Miami and Jacksonville sites have more tests that they’re able to do.’ The reason they’re able to do that is because they have either a hospital partner or they have tests that came in from the state of Florida. While that’s an option, it hasn’t happened yet,” said Florida Deployed Public Information Officer Lauren Luna.
Luna said they are prepared and have a third testing lane ready if they get permission to perform more tests per day. She said nearly 200 vehicles were lined up before the testing site opened Thursday.
"We got a lot of community and people were sick. This was needed and we were happy to open up to the public and I think it will be like this for many days to come and we are happy to be here," said registered nurse Sasha DeCesare.
DeCesare works in the screening area and spoke with News 6 yesterday, saying there was a sense of community felt at the testing site. She said people were bringing in their neighbors, friends, and family to get tested.
During testing Thursday a couple of cars were turned away because their windows couldn't roll down. Luna wants to remind people that you must have a functioning window to get tested. If more than one person inside the car is getting tested, they suggest you all sit on the same side.
"That's for the safety of our combat medics who are doing the nasal cavity swab, but it's also for the safety of our nurses and how they're walking around the vehicles," said Luna.
We are told there are enough tests on-site to run for another five to six days. They do have orders in for more. Right now - officials say it could take about a week to get results.
While the statewide stay-at-home order goes in to effect Friday, the Orange County Convention Center drive-thru site will remain open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. - or until 250 tests have been performed. Because it is health-related, getting a COVID-19 test is considered ‘essential.’