ORLANDO, Fla. – For the sixth day in a row, the COVID-19 testing site at Barnett Park in Orlando reached capacity, closing the line at 1:30 p.m. as cars waited more than two hours Monday.
Those lines can be contributed to a couple of reasons, according to Daniella Sullivan, health services administrator for Orange County, including people needing testing ahead of travel, getting tested for a peace of mind ahead of the holidays or because there is a rise in COVID cases.
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“We have been closing the line for testing earlier since Dec. 15,” Sullivan said. “We have a lot of international travelers, plus an increase of exposure due to COVID-19 during the holidays, which is pretty common.”
According to the Florida Department of Health’s weekly report released Friday, cases more than doubled from the week before — reporting 29,568 new cases compared to 13,530 reported on Dec. 9. The positivity rate also more than doubled from 2.6% to 5.4%.
“Here we go again,” said Isadora Olivera, as she got tested at Barnett Park with her mom. Olivera was exposed by someone at work on Wednesday. “It felt like things were getting better, people feeling more comfortable and less fear and things and now things are coming back. So it’s kind of frustrating to see not just that people are getting sick again, but that so many people are afraid.”
Though the lines for testing reached more than two hours Monday, the lines for vaccinations and booster shots were nearly non-existent. The state report also showed vaccinations last week dropped by 28%. But Bill Swatling didn’t want wait until it was too late, he got his booster shot Monday.
“It’s time to get the booster shot,” Swatling said. “Maybe we have to do this every 6 months and I would have to wait in two and half hours every six months, but if that’s what it takes to be able to spend time with family and go out to eat and go on vacations, then I’ll do it.”
Barnett Park is opened seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., offering both testing and vaccinations for free.