ORLANDO, Fla. – As the number of coronavirus cases in Florida continues to climb, patients in the Sunshine State continue to see more access to testing, with the latest site opening at the University of Central Florida.
School officials are working with Aventus Biolabs to run the drive-thru testing site at UCF, which opened Monday.
UCF officials said the site is for members of the community who have an appointment.
Testing is conducted at Garage A at 12491 University Boulevard. The testing site has 7,000 tests on hand, but Aventus CEO Oliver Dawoud said it only has the capacity to perform 250 tests per day.
“We just think about it being about the test kits, but you still need a lot of other PPE. We need masks and disposable shields every day. We need to make sure we can get gloves and personnel," Dawoud said.
The site will be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or until 250 tests have been performed.
UCF credits state Rep. Anna Eskamani for bringing together the public-private partnership to offer more access to COVID-19 testing in Central Florida.
“It shouldn’t have to be that hard, if you’re not feeling well and you have some sort of symptoms, you should be able to get a test. We’re not at that point right now and until we’re at that point, I don’t think Florida’s doing good enough," Eskamani said.
To test at UCF, you must have symptoms and be prescribed a test by a healthcare provider. Then you can schedule an appointment. UCF said the test takes less than 10 minutes.
To schedule an appointment, patients can contact Aventus at 855-282-4860.
Patients will be screened for symptoms and will be issued an order if they qualify for testing, according to UCF officials.
Patients whose insurance does not cover the COVID-19 test will be charged the Medicare rate of $51, according to Aventus Health.
UCF said students can obtain an ordered test from Student Health Services telehealth by calling 407-823-2701.
School officials said faculty and staff can obtain their ordered test from their primary care provider by calling UCF Health at 407-266-3627.
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Aventus officials said they can connect anyone with a telehealth provider by calling 855-282-4860.
Aventus Biolabs provides the nursing staff that performs the swab testing. The university is providing help from its student health department. Campus police are also on site monitoring traffic. Officials said they have enough Personal Protective Equipment to meet their daily test limit.
Aventus said patients will receive their results in 24 to 48 hours. Because their lab is only miles away, their testing techniques allow them to get a quicker result and they don’t freeze samples, so they only last two days.
Thousands of patients have already been tested at another location in Orange County.
Since operations began on March 25, medical professionals at the Orange County Convention Center drive-thru coronavirus testing site have collected 2,720 samples from patients fearing they could be suffering from COVID-19.
The numbers were released Sunday afternoon by the The Florida National Guard, which operates the location.
Because the testing site is federally run, only 250 samples can be collected per day. Medical personnel at the site had to stop accepting new patients hours or even minutes after opening several days last week because the demand was so high.
Initially testing kits were reserved for first responders and those 65 and older but the guidelines have since been expanded to include anyone with a preexisting condition.
The site at the Orange County Convention Center is one of five the Florida National Guard operates across the state.
Here are the total numbers for the other four locations:
- C.B. Smith Park in Broward County: 8,353 sample collections.
- Hard Rock Stadium in Miami-Dade County: 8,558 sample collections.
- Marlins Park in Miami-Dade County: 2,258 sample collections.
- West Palm Beach Fit Stadium Site in Palm Beach County: 2,067 sample collections.
Statewide, 114,580 people have been tested for the highly contagious respiratory illness, according to the Florida Department of Health. Of those tests, 12,151 were positive and 101,253 were negative as of Sunday morning.
At last check, there were more than 13,300 Florida-related cases of COVID-19 and 236 deaths reported statewide, according to Florida Department of Health officials.