Orange County coronavirus testing sites close early due to demand ahead of Thanksgiving

People flock to testing sites before holiday gatherings

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Two busy coronavirus testing sites in Orange County closed its line hours early Wednesday as cars lined up around the location to get tested for the virus ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

The testing site at Barnett Park operated by Orange County Health Services experienced an increased interest before the Thanksgiving holiday, officials said. Cars could be seen lining up early Tuesday.

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Maura McCray, a local teacher, was in line around 10 a.m. and had been waiting for four hours when she spoke to News 6.

“I’m just doing it to be safe and make sure my parents are safe when I go see them,” she said, adding “just to make sure I’m safe and we are both in school I want to make sure I’m taking the best precautions that I can.”

To complete testing by 5 p.m., officials closed the site early to any new people seeking tests. Those inline by 2:30 p.m. were able to get tested.

The site normally closes at 5 p.m.

“There are ample supplies for testing,” health services said in a tweet. “All residents still in line will be tested.”

Testing sites around Central Florida saw an increased demand all week leading up to the holiday as people prepared to travel or host family and friends for Thanksgiving, despite warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as local health officials to avoid large gatherings and to stay home.

Amanda Salisbury, of Winter Garden, was in line with her daughter before the testing site opened around 8:30 a.m. Her whole family was rapid tested this morning after waiting in line, only to get a call when they got home they needed to come back because her daughter’s results came back invalid.

“The state called the minute we got back to Winter Garden and they said, ‘Come back to this line’ - so we have been in line since,” she said.

Many people in line said the wait was cutting into their Thanksgiving meal prep.

“We would be cooking but instead we are out here getting tested,” Darious Wilson, who had been waiting for three hours, said.

Wilson was also getting testing ahead of the holiday to be safe around his family.

“We don’t want to spread nothing we want to make sure before,” Wilson said. “That’s the main reason for the test going to see family.”

The state run virus testing site at the Orange County Convention Center also stopped accepting new people in line early on Wednesday. Officials closed the gates around 4 p.m. The site won’t reopen until 9 a.m. Friday.

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