ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Officials are hoping more people will get tested for COVID-19 now that more tests are available and the qualifications were expanded at the Orange County Convention Center testing site.
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Bailey Meyers with the Orange County Sheriff's Office said they are encouraging more people to come out and get tested.
"We're trying desperately to give as many tests as possible," Meyers said.
Meyers said they can do that now that the state-run site started offering 750 tests a day earlier this week. That's a huge increase from the initial 250 daily limit when the convention center site opened last month and was operated by the federal government.
But even with more tests available, Meyers said they have not tested more than 500 people a day.
"We are still seeing more people come out, but we have more tests to give," she said.
The state hopes more people will come out now that the testing qualifications have expanded.
To be tested at the OCCC site you must meet the following criteria:
- First responders, showing symptoms or not
- There is no age requirement
- Anyone with a preexisting condition
- Anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19
- Anyone who has come into contact with a confirmed coronavirus patient
Meyers said you can't walk up to the site and ask for a test. You must be in a vehicle with working windows. Meyers said that is to protect the healthcare workers who are administering the tests.
She adds if you can't drive to the convention center, you can book appointments at other testing sites.
"They're trying to reach the need for people throughout the county who can't drive up," Meyers said.
She said the convention center site is for anyone in Central Florida and tests are free. She adds you do not need to make an appointment and you do not need health insurance.
She said they have contingency plans if it is raining, but if there is lightning they will have to temporarily shut down the testing site until the severe weather passes.
Meyers hopes more people will come out and get tested.
"You're not taking a test away from someone if you feel like you need to get tested. We need to change that mentality a little bit to encourage more people to come out and get tested," she said.
The site is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will close if the center hits the maximum amount of tests.