ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – The Florida Department of Health reported 6,257 new cases on Thursday, bringing the state’s overall total to 827,380 cases since March.
Orange County Public Safety Director Danny Banks planned ahead in case that rise continues in Central Florida.
“Over the last three weeks, we’ve seen our numbers climb,” he said. “We’re concerned going into the season of flu season, and the season of typically more illness, and we know that could help cause an increase in COVID-19 cases.”
Beginning Monday, the county-run testing site at Barnett Park will begin offering free rapid/antigen tests, in addition to molecular/PCR tests, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Banks told News 6 up to 4,000 antigen tests will be administered to residents each week, with results in about 20 minutes.
“There is no registration required,” he said. “It can be drive up, unannounced, show up, drive though, never get out of your car and you can get tested for rapid test, PCR or both.”
The testing site is open to any Orange County residents, and individuals will also receive a box of face masks as well as hand sanitizer after the tests. Those getting tested are asked to bring insurance cards, however, uninsured residents will be accepted, and no co-pay is required. Symptoms are not required to get tested at Barnett Park.
Since Orange County began offering testing on April 28, county leaders told News 6 more than 27,000 tests have been performed across 22 locations.
The announcement comes just two weeks after the state-run testing site at the Orange County Convention Center began offering rapid tests.
Beginning today @FLSERT #COVID19 Test Site @OCCC— Florida Association of Public Information Officers (@FloridaPIOs) October 19, 2020
Free Rapid (antigen) test to anyone ages 5+, results in minutes via phone/text/email.
Preregister at https://t.co/4dmQudF3LY. 7 days a week from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Doesn't matter which county you live in, you can be tested here. pic.twitter.com/YKPeO2Fv6N
“We saw the number of people going there almost triple overnight,” Banks explained. “That told us something about the demand in the community.”
It appears both sites obtained their rapid tests from the state, which just received more than 6.4 million rapid tests from the federal government in the past month.
“We know the demand is there, we’re going to push it all the way through the end of the year,” Banks said. “We’ll see what January brings and what our next strategy will be.”
Barnett Park is located at 4801 W. Colonial Dr. in Orlando.