Orange County Convention Center antibody testing reaches capacity, coronavirus tests still available

Officials urge patients to plan ahead and expect to wait

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – The Orange County Convention Center COVID-19 antibody test site reached capacity Thursday morning, according to the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

Officials said swab testing for the coronavirus is still available. Antibody tests determine if someone has developed antibodies for the virus, which indicates they had COVID-19 at some point.

The line for the testing site at the convention center began in the early hours Thursday morning. The day prior cars lined up as early as 2:30 a.m.

“Plan ahead, be prepared for a long wait,” Emergency Management officials said. “Have a full tank of gas, working A/C and windows that fully open & close.”

Michael Jachles, Public information officer with the state of Florida, said that while antibody testing may have reached capacity, the testing site has the ability to be flexible and offer additional services.

“We have six swab lanes and two antibody lanes and once those antibody tests have been exhausted for the day, we can convert them into swab lanes, so we actually have eight swab lanes that are up and running,” Jachles said. “We can process over 200 cars, 200 tests per hour.  That’s why we’ve been able to obtain over 14-hundred tests that have been collected per day for the last several days.”

The growing interest in antibody and coronavirus testing comes as Florida continues to report a growing number of positive cases. Wednesday saw a new record with more than 5,500 new infections reported, according to the Department of Health.

Jachles said that as cases spike and testing is in high demand, officials are asking for understanding from those waiting in line.

“We’re continuing to process a high volume, high capacity of tests, but we’re just asking for a little bit of planning and a lot of patience,” Jachles said. “That involves coming with a full tank of gas, being prepared to wait. Having working air-conditioning in your car and working windows that fully open and close.”

About the Authors:

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.