The state-supported COVID-19 testing site at CenturyLink Sports Complex was closed Sunday and Monday due to impacts from then-Tropical Storm Eta.
Since the site reopened Tuesday morning, they are experiencing an influx of people visiting the site to be tested. That influx of people created long lines at the site on Tuesday.
For some people, the wait was over an hour when, on a normal day, with an appointment, it’s more like 30 minutes.
Kurt Curran came to get tested today. “An hour is usually the amount of time it takes but today is definitely a bigger line,” Curran said.
Kurt is a coronavirus testing veteran. He’s here every week because…he has to be. “I work on the road doing x rays and EKGs. We go to nursing homes, testing is required,” he said.
The quick results are as essential as the PPE he wears. “My appointment time was yesterday and they actually closed because of the storm. That’s probably why it’s so busy today,” said Curran.
Many of the folks in line told WINK News reporter Dannielle Garcia they had the same problem.
Helen Farley and her husband, Bill, also came to get tested. “We’re just hanging in the house, we’re retired. Hopefully, he can play golf tomorrow! So we’ll see what this says,” she said.
There was some sense of urgency at CenturyLink today. “We had a friend that was exposed and she tested positive on Sunday,” they told WINK News.
They didn’t mind standing out in the Florida heat. “It was easier going in the car when we did the longer test,” they added. “The only problem with that was it took seven or eight days to get the results,” said Bill.
So, if it starts to rain, just bring your umbrella or in Helen’s case, your husband Bill.
“Hey there’s an umbrella in our ca,” Helen said. “I’ll be the one that has to go get the umbrella,” Bill said.
But luckily, the result times remained the same. People say they appreciate the long lines and will stand in them if they have to since the tests are free and the results are still quicker than some other tests.
Experts have said rapid testing is the key to getting COVID-19 under control.
A spokesperson for the Florida Division of Emergency Management said:
Walk-ups will be accepted if there is enough time between appointments. Before the site closes for the day, depending on the number of people in line and the number of appointments scheduled for the remainder of the day, staff on site will stop accepting additional walk-ups and only test the individuals already in line. This ensures everyone who is waiting is able to receive a test. Walk-ups are not guaranteed a test, therefore appointments are encouraged.
The Division uses a mix of drive-thru and walk-up locations to best serve the needs of the community. Walk-up locations allow any individual to receive a test, whether or not they have a vehicle. Walk-up testing allows for increase accessibility at the site.
The safety of staff and visitors at the site is one of the Division’s top priorities. Individuals are encouraged to wait in shaded areas when possible, bring water and snacks and alert staff on site of any accommodations they may need.
Testing will also be conducted as long as it is safe to do so. If a site closes for inclement weather, individuals will be asked to come back when the site reopens. Staff on site will communicate with individuals in line about site closures and wait times.
Individuals are encouraged to schedule an appointment prior to visiting the site, appointments can be scheduled at curative.com