WESTON, FLA. (WSVN) – – Local hospitals and National Guardsmen are working on setting up drive-thru locations to help fill a dire need in South Florida: testing for COVID-19.
7News cameras captured a tent outside the Cleveland Clinic in Weston, Wednesday night. The well-known hospital is working on setting up one of the drive-thru testing areas, located about a block away from the main campus.
At a news conference Wednesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said they are attempting to have the facilities ready to test patients as soon as possible.
“People will go on, and if they’re symptomatic, and a physician recommends it, then they get it,” he said. “That’s certainly what I’d like to see.”
This latest development comes as cases of COVID-19 continued to soar in the Sunshine State.
The latest numbers show 100 new cases in Florida, just from Tuesday night at this time. Nearly half of the cases are in South Florida: 80 in Broward County with one death and 77 in Miami-Dade.
Dr. Jana Cua said she think she has the virus, so she got tested at a testing site where she works, at Community Health of South Florida in South Miami-Dade.
“I think I have a fever and chills,” she said.
Cua was one of many patients come came to the newly opened site to be tested on Wednesday.
“The only way we can all help to nip this virus in the bud is to test as many patients as possible,” said Dr. Tony Amofah, Chief Medical Officer at Community Health.
Patients were first assessed for symptoms or other risk factors. About four of every 10 were tested with a swab in the nose.
This is progress, Amofah said, even if he acknowledges it’s not perfect.
“We realize that we cannot test everyone,” he said.
The Community Health is currently only being used for members of the medical community. They are urged to call ahead before they go in for testing.
Along with tests and other materials, the state still needs more swabs for testing.
“A huge supply of swabs will let us ramp up the number of people that can be tested,” said DeSantis.
The governor announced earlier this week that Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens will also be a testing site.
7News cameras captured tents set up outside the venue on Wednesday.
Another testing area is C.B. Smith Park in Pembroke Pines, where the National Guard is working with Memorial Healthcare System.
DeSantis described how that location is set up.
“It’s gonna have five lanes. One will be designated specifically for first responders. We’ll have 100 National Guardsmen there supporting the effort,” he said.
Those in charge of setting up the C.B. Smith location said they are aiming for it to be ready by the end of the week.
Officials with Broward Health said they also have plans for COVID-19 testing.
Meanwhile, people who were tested in South Miami-Dade wait for their results.
Cua said she thinks the worst of her symptoms are behind her, but she’ll stay in isolation for now, with results due in three to four days.
“I mean, I feel like the worst is over for me,” she said.
In total, seven people in Florida have died due to the virus.
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