ORLANDO, Fla. – The line began to form outside the Orange County Convention Center at 1 a.m. for coronavirus testing, eight hours before it opened. By the time capacity was reached at 1 p.m., officials said they would process a record 1,600 swab tests.
Lines even longer today @FLSERT #COVID19 Test Site @OCCC: 1st car was in line 1am, cars stretch back past N. Concourse and we're still almost an hour from opening time. A little planning & a lot of patience is needed⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️ pic.twitter.com/uRiQVGFyD0— Florida Association of Public Information Officers (@FloridaPIOs) June 26, 2020
While its line is the longest, the convention center is not the only place you can get tested for the coronavirus.
Passing clouds outnumbered cars Friday afternoon at a COVID-19 testing site at the UCF Lake Nona Cancer Center, where you do not need to show symptoms of the coronavirus, but appointments are required, and the test is covered by your health insurance.
”The reason the lines are long at the Orange County Convention Center is it’s free and no appointment needed versus here where you need an appointment,” Dr. Marcia Katz, Associate Dean at UCF’s College of Medicine said.
News 6 wanted to see how quickly it took to book a testing appointment at the site and found it took less than 10 minutes to set up an appointment for later that same day, as thousands sat waiting in their idling cars at the convention center.
Premier Medical Associates also hosts several other locations offering COVID-19 testing.
Premier Medical Associates has 12 people screening calls for those who want to be tested. Lina Cohen, Premier Medical Associates vice president of patient care, calls the group the “corona team.”
Craig Esquenazi is the director of operations and general counsel at Premier Medical Associates in the Villages.
“We’ve tried to cover all the way from Kissimmee to Orlando to Central Florida, Leesburg, the Villages (with mobile testing),” Esquenazi said. “It shouldn’t be a problem for anyone who wants a test. It’s covered by their insurance.”
Premier Medical Associates was the first medical group in Central Florida to offer drive-up testing for COVID-19, with a seemingly simple way to sign up by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Send us a quick email, 'hey, this is who I am. We'd like to get tested," Esquenazi said. "They shouldn't have to go through that consternation of waiting for hours in line. It's not necessary, that's what I'm telling you."
A representative with The Florida Division of Emergency Management told News 6 they are looking to secure more state-run testing sites such as in grocery store parking lots.