Demand down at most COVID-19 testing sites across Florida

Miami and Orlando are exceptions, remain busy

ORLANDO, Fla. – Most free COVID-19 testing sites in Florida don’t come with the same crowds they once saw at the beginning of the pandemic.

“There’s certainly not demand for that many tests right now,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said at a news conference in Clearwater on Sept. 29. “We have capacity at our drive through sites that’s not even close due to lack of demand.”

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Data shows the number of daily reported tests administered in the state of Florida remained steady into the fall after peaking in July.

Mike Jachles serves as the spokesperson for the testing site at the Orange County Convention Center, where they’re now averaging about 500 people tested a day.

“At its busiest, we were seeing about 2,000 people a day,” he said. “The common thing people don’t realize is we’re still testing. It’s still free and still available to anyone regardless of what county you live in.”

The free site, as well as other state-run sites, dropped antibody testing this past Friday.

A spokesperson for the Florida Department of Health told News 6:

While the number of tests per day has fluctuated with demand, testing remains widely available for Floridians throughout the state. The Florida Department of Health is committed to ensuring every Floridian who needs a test has access to the appropriate resource. Additionally, any Medical Doctor, Doctor of Osteopathy, Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, Physician Assistant or pharmacist in the state can prescribe a test for COVID-19.

However, the numbers aren’t dropping everywhere.

In Orlando, city leaders said Wednesday’s batch of testing at their weekly pop-up site came as an uptick.

“At today’s location at the Engelwood Neighborhood Center there was 209 residents tested, which was an increase from our observed average of about 140-150 residents from the last six weeks,” a spokesperson wrote. “The City of Orlando will continue to do COVID-19 testing sites throughout Orlando neighborhoods as long as the state and the county provide testing kits and lab resources.”

At the state-run site at the Hard Rock Stadium in South Florida, they continue to see record testing including more than 2800 tests done on Friday.

“There’s no timeline per se that I’m aware of for how long we’re going to be testing,” Jachles said. “We all know this isn’t going anywhere. We’re in it for the long haul.”

About the Author:

It has been an absolute pleasure for Clay LePard living and working in Orlando since he joined News 6 in July 2017. Previously, Clay worked at WNEP TV in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he brought viewers along to witness everything from unprecedented access to the Tobyhanna Army Depot to an interview with convicted double-murderer Hugo Selenski.