ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County opened a second large-scale COVID-19 testing site at Econ Soccer Complex Tuesday as the demand for virus testing continues to grow.
The new testing site will help ease some of the traffic at the Barnett Park testing and vaccine site which has experienced long lines during the recent COVID-19 surge fueled by the delta variant.
“This will complement our busy Barnett Park location and hopefully relieve some of the stress on that site,” Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said of the new site.
The Econ Soccer Complex site will offer PCR, molecular or rapid/antigen tests.
Unlike Barnett Park, the new testing site won’t offer vaccines just yet, only free COVID-19 testing.
The Econ Soccer Complex site at 8305 Yates Road opened Tuesday at 9 a.m. The site will be open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
There is a four-person limit per vehicle and people must be inside a car to get a test.
Danielle Sullivan, house services program administrator in Orange County, is in charge of operations at both testing Orange County testing sites.
“We have the capacity to do up to 1,500 tests per day here,” she said of the new site.
Sullivan said the Econ Soccer Complex site will offer a second option for residents in need of testing.
Christina Bolorin woke up feeling feverish and first drove to Barnett Park, then her husband told her about the new site opening up.
“It went to Barnett Park first and it was ridiculous,” she said. “Thank God my husband sent me to this location, I am definitely going to spread the word for sure because it was easy in and out.”
Barnett Park again reached capacity Tuesday afternoon.
Hospitalizations have grown tenfold statewide in just over a month as the more contagious delta variant spreads, with more than 95% of COVID-19 patients unvaccinated, officials said.
Florida is now leading the nation in per capita hospitalizations for COVID-19. The state had 10,389 COVID-19 hospitalizations Monday, according to the hospital association. That’s almost 200 more than Sunday when the state broke the previous record set on July 23, 2020, more than a half-year before vaccinations started becoming widespread. It then had 10,170 hospitalizations. More than 39,000 Floridians have died since March 2020, including more than 400 last week.
Ed Torres, who serves as director of the Orange County Utilities Department. Torres said that in the past four weeks, the amount of COVID-19 particles in wastewater has increased by 1,500%.
“This weekend we received results where that same service area had increased to 3 million parts per liter,” Torres said.
Torres said the data collected from the wastewater can help them forecast new COVID-19 infections by four-10 days. He said the most current data shows cases in Orange County could double in the next week, with east Orange County being an epicenter.
“Because that’s where we are seeing a big increase in the concentrations in the wastewater, therefore we are going to see a corresponding increase in infection in that area,” Torres said.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.