Daytona Beach site for underserved community sets COVID-19 testing record

Site offered drive-thru, walk-up service for residents

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A steady stream of cars rolled into a testing site on Jean Street in Daytona Beach Thursday morning, while others like Bernadette and Al Reeves walked up to get tested for COVID-19.

"I don't want to give anybody something that I don't know that I have. By getting tested, then I'll know. Basically, I want to see my grandkids," said Bernadette Reeves.

The Palm Coast couple learned about the pop-up site from their daughter who lives in town. Bernadette Reeves said she’s pleased that city leaders and the health department are proactively serving predominately minority communities.

"They might not have the vehicle but when you come to a person, you know they might be struggling doing a lot of other things. It's like a courtesy. I'm coming to you, you're not forgotten," she said.

Sasha Staton, spokesperson for the Daytona Beach Fire Department said 668 people tested in four hours on Wednesday, a record-breaking number for Volusia County; officials said 582 people were tested at the site Thursday.

"This is a central spot for our community. It's available to a lot of people that live nearby and we're just so pleased with the amount of people who have come out to get tested," said Staton.

For Jakeeta Avery, she said she's grateful that she and her nine-year-old daughter can get tested after learning a family member contracted the virus.

“Many people don’t care about the minority community, so a lot of things are not available to us. To see our city make it available to us, thank you. That’s all I can say. Thank you,” said Avery.

The Florida Department of Health reported a record-high, single-day increase for Volusia County at 95 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19. The Daytona Beach Fire Department said within two hours on Thursday, 150 people were tested.

“You come out, you get tested and you find out that you have a positive result, then you know that you need to stay away from elderly, you need to stay away from friends. All of that will help prevent the spread,” said Staton.

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