ORLANDO, Fla. – The Florida Department of Health announced state-supported drive-thru and walk-up coronavirus testing sites will temporarily close at 5 p.m. on Thursday as Tropical Storm Isaias approaches the state.
This includes the testing sites at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, the Regency Mall in Jacksonville, the Orange County Convention Center, the FITTEAM ballpark of the Palm Beaches, and the Fort Lauderdale War Memorial.
Tropical Storm Isaias is expected to approach the state on Saturday.
The sites have freestanding structures including tents.
The setups could not handle tropical-storm-force winds. Other sites expected to close due to the storm are:
- Testing through Orange County Health Services
- Saturday’s scheduled testing at Winter Springs High School
- State walk-up testing at Oviedo Home Depot will end at 5 p.m. on Thursday
- The Econ Soccer Complex testing site will close on Friday
Free coronavirus testing will still be available through each county health department, more scheduling information can be found here.
Anyone who was planning to get a test on Friday, the Florida Division of Emergency Management encourages is urging people to get tested on Thursday.
State officials urge people to get in contact with a resident’s county health department after Thursday if you are in need of a COVID-19 test.
The drive-thru and walk-up sites will reopen at the latest by 8 a.m. on Aug. 5, according to the department of health.
“I think it’s a fluid situation where anything is possible, this is a big question mark,” said Mike Jachles from the Florida Department of Emergency Management. “We have to obviously make safety first.”
The closure of the sites could have a positive impact on the delay in testing results.
“It’s very possible the labs may be able to take advantage of this opportunity and be able to get caught up on tests and even further reduce the turn around times,” Jachles said.
In Seminole county, the state-run site at the Oviedo Home Depot is closing Thursday at 5 p.m. and the county’s pop-up site this week at Winter Springs High is open Friday but closed Saturday.
“We can’t obviously set up, take down, set up, take down, set up, take down all throughout the day,” said Alan Harris from the Seminole County Department of Emergency Management. “Whether it’s a tropical event or the COVID, we want people to be safe.”
The reopening of the testing sites all depends on what happens with the storm.
The DOH said the sites will reopen when it is safe to do so.