Walk-up coronavirus testing needed in Orlando for people without transportation, commissioner says

More testing needed for homeless population, Commissioner Regina Hill says

Orlando commissioner Regina Hill is calling for more aggressive COVID-19 testing.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill is calling for more aggressive COVID-19 testing and said she wants to make sure no one in her district, that includes the Parramore neighborhood, is left out.

“I do think that those who have not been tested in certain areas in the county, we should have more testing kits,” Hill said. “Being that we have not been tested on the west side of Orlando in the last month of testing.”

The Orange County Florida Department of Health is eyeing five locations to possibly expand mobile testing to county hot spots, including at Camping World Stadium in Hill’s District.

Dr. Raul Pino, health officer for the Orange County Florida Department of Health, said the testing sites will target “hot spots” in the county where more COVID-19 cases have been reported.

“The idea is to reach out to individuals who normally don’t engage with health care and don’t have transportation, and also get a better picture of those areas getting hardest hit,” Pino said.

Pino said if there are multiple mobile bases set up the Department of Health can test between 250 to 300 a day without exhausting staffing resources.

Florida health officials say the tests will be free but only by appointment. The locations they’re considering are in West Orange Park, Blanchard Park, South Econ Park, Barnett Park and near Camping World Stadium.

“There is concern that those who have transportation in the outlaying areas of the Westlakes and Parramore area, they will drive in first, and those who live within that community will not be served,” Hill said.

Hill said there should be more testing options and she wants to make sure it’s not just for those who have access to a vehicle.

“I’m trying to resolve that anyone can walk up without an appointment or drive-up without an appointment,” Hill said.

On Tuesday, Hill toured the new men’s shelter outside the Salvation Army. The commissioner is also calling for more aggressive testing for many homeless residents.

News 6 is working to get more answers from the city of Orlando, Orange County and state health leaders, including perhaps how many tests will be done per site and when the testing will start at the new mobile testing sites.

Officials with the Florida Depatment of Health said more details will be available later this week.

About the Author:

Jerry Askin is an Atlanta native who came to News 6 in March 2018 with an extensive background in breaking news.