Orange County opens 3rd COVID-19 testing site

Overwhelming demand for testing means only drive-thru options available

ORLANDO, Fla. – Orange County opened its third COVID-19 testing site on Thursday at the South Orange Youth Sports Complex.

The testing site is actually the second to open this week, joining Barnett Park and the Econ Soccer Complex.

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“We’re spreading across the three sites. We’ve opened two new sites this week and of course, we are overwhelmed with the demand in testing this week. We are seeing long lines across the three sites and this morning,” said Alexandra Nixon with Orange County Health Services.

Initially, Orange County had planned to add walk-ups to all three testing sites, but decided not to anymore due to high demand and will only allow drive-thru.

“Unfortunately the demand for the walk-ups at the sites was too overwhelming for the staff. We are trying to accommodate hundreds and hundreds of cars throughout the sites,” Nixon explained.

News 6 was at the South Orange Youth Sports Complex on Thursday when the first driver, Jadah Cole, arrived at 4 a.m.

“For New Year’s, because I just want to be safe and make sure that I have a negative because where we are going to be, it’s going to be a big gathering,” Cole said.

Lourdes Rivero drove from Seminole County and her car battery died as she waited in line Thursday morning.

“It’s far away! But yesterday I was looking for some of the places to take the test and I saw that they opened today,” Rivero said.

Rivero was able to get back in line thanks to another driver, Leonardo Pedro, who got in line early as well.

“It’s the least we can do to help each other, that’s what we can do here on earth,” Pedro said.

Orange County officials strongly encourage people to preregister online before getting to a county-run testing site.

All three sites, Barnett Park, Econ Soccer Complex, and South Orange Youth Sports Complex will be closed on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1.

Information on locations, and preregistration, is available on the Orange County website.

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!