Barnett Park COVID-19 testing site closes early again as cases are on the rise

Orange County reported 2,000 new cases over the weekend

It was another day of long lines at the COVID-19 testing site at Barnett Park Tuesday.

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – It was another day of long lines at the COVID-19 testing site at Barnett Park Tuesday.

Many cars were lined up early Tuesday morning to get a coronavirus test as recent cases continue to grow and by 2 p.m. the site was forced to close early after reaching capacity.

Jadiel Hernandez lined up at 7 a.m. and said he needed to get a test before traveling to Puerto Rico later this week.

“Yup, there’s a lot of people but it’s better than how it was before,” Hernandez said.

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On Monday, the site also closed early after Orange County reported it had reached capacity for testing. The site opens at 9 a.m. daily for testing and vaccines.

Barnett Park testing site coordinator Daniella Sullivan said the demand for testing is similar to what the site experienced over the Thanksgiving holiday.

To accommodate for the testing, the coordinator at the site said they had to reduce the number of lanes for vaccinations to make room for testing.

“Right now, I only have one vaccine tent because the demand for vaccination is so low compared to the amount of testing today,” Sullivan said. “Today we have three tents fully dedicated to testing and one tent dedicated to vaccination.”

Shervin Briscoe tried getting a COVID-19 test Monday since he’s flying to Jamaica this week but had to leave.

“The line yesterday was rough. I came here yesterday and left,” Briscoe said.

On Monday, Orange County leaders explained COVID-19 cases are on the rise and reported about 2,000 cases over the weekend.

Capacity at Central Florida hospitals continues to increase as well. Orlando Regional Medical Center is at 97% capacity, Advent Health Orlando was at 93% capacity and Halifax Health in Daytona Beach was at 55% capacity as of Monday night.

Health officials stressed most of the cases are people who haven’t been vaccinated.

Dr. Raul Pino, from the Florida Department of Health in Orange County, said the county is now seeing new COVID-19 cases in numbers similar to what was seen in January which is when Florida saw its highest peak of new cases.

Esther Amill, who brought her cousin from Puerto Rico to get tested at Barnett Park, said she is worried about things getting worse in Orange County.

“Until the virus is completely gone, which I don’t think is gonna be completely gone just like the flu, but you know we really, really need to mitigate all the dangers of it,” Amill said.

Sullivan recommends those who need a COVID-19 test arrive early in the day.

The Barnett Park testing site will reopen open until Aug. 31.

About the Author:

Ezzy Castro is a multimedia journalist on News 6's morning team who has a passion for telling the stories of the people in the Central Florida community. Ezzy worked at WFOR CBS4 in South Florida and KBMT in Beaumont, Texas, where she covered Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Being from Miami, Ezzy loves Cuban coffee and croquetas!