Free COVID-19 testing at Orange County Convention Center down to its final days

Final tests to be administered Sunday

A healthcare worker performs a COVID-19 test at a drive-thru testing center Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020, in Phoenix. Arizona on Tuesday set a new daily record with over 12,300 additional known coronavirus cases as the number of hospitalized patients approached levels similar to the peak of last summer's surge, with the state's seven-day rolling average continuing to climb in the past two weeks as have the rolling averages for daily deaths and daily COVID-19 testing positivity. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) (Ross D. Franklin, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Free COVID-19 testing is coming to an end at the Orange County Convention Center, according to officials.

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings announced during a news conference on Monday that the final tests would be administered Sunday.

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“Within the last hour, the Florida Department of Emergency Management informed our Orange County Emergency Operations Center that the Orange County Convention Center regional testing site will close on Sunday, May 16, 2021, so, this coming Sunday will be the last opportunity that any of our residents in the area will have the opportunity to get a free test at the Orange County Convention Center,” Demings said. “In other words, the COVID-19 testing will transition to local responsibility.”

COVID-19 testing has been underway at the convention center since last year. Coronavirus vaccines are also being administered at the site, though vaccination efforts at the Orange County Convention Center are also expected to end later this month, according to health officials.

The site recently stopped administering first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and began administering only second doses as operations began to dwindle. Officials announced last month that the vaccine site would close at the end of May and instead, smaller sites would open in different locations in the county.

As far as testing goes, the Barnett Park location remains busy, with nearly 2,500 COVID-19 tests administered during the past three days, according to Demings. The site is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Demings said residents do not need an appointment to receive a free test.

With testing at the OCCC coming to an end, Demings said state officials have not made county officials aware of any additional testing outreach efforts for the region.

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