LEESBURG, Fla. – AdventHealth opened a new testing site in Lake County in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Cars lined up at Lake Sumter State College on Saturday as people waited to get tested for COVID-19 at the hospital's newest testing site.
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LSSC spokesperson Kevin Yurasek said this new site fills an important need for the community.
"Here in Lake County there have been not a lot of testing sites lately, so we're pleased to offer our campus here in Leesburg for a high volume testing site and we're excited to see there's already a line here this morning," Yurasek said.
The site was originally set to open on Friday, but it was postponed due to weather conditions.
Abel Biri, the CEO of AdventHealth Waterman, said he is expecting more people to show up this weekend to get tested and do their part to stop the spread.
"I think it gives people a sense of confidence in knowing whether or not they have contracted the virus and it helps mitigate the spread of it," Biri said.
Officials said there is a need for more testing in Lake County. On Thursday, Sky 6 showed a long line of cars at a drive-thru testing site at the Cooper Memorial Library in Clermont.
Biri said the new site at the college is open through May 1. Healthcare providers can test up to 500 people a day. AdventHealth said the tests are free.
Appointments are not required, but Biri encourages people to register online.
Tests are available to anyone with symptoms or anyone who has had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, even if they are not currently experiencing symptoms.
“We’re going to monitor how the progress of this goes. If it’s highly attended and we keep running out of every day’s quota, then we might figure out what we need to do next,” Biri said.
Thomas Carpenter, the director of the Lake County Office of Emergency Management, said he hopes the increase in testing will give local leaders a better idea of how widespread coronavirus is to help them determine when Lake County can re-open.
"What I'm hoping is with all this new testing that is available and the results come back that we see that same percentage between 5 to 6% that remain positive. If not, we see a spike, then that gives us more data and helps the county in terms of reopening efforts," Carpenter said.
The LSSC testing site is open daily through May 1 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
AdventHealth said results can be expected in approximately two to three days.