Record COVID-19 cases, demand for testing strain SWFL testing sites

Reporter: Sydney Persing Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:
CenturyLink experienced long lines on Thursday as crowds flocked to get tested ahead of family gatherings. (CREDIT: WINK News)

Florida hit a new record for COVID-19 cases over the weekend, with almost 33,000 daily cases on Saturday.

The last time the state hit a record number of cases was in August, during the height of the delta variant.

Omicron is now the dominant strain of COVID-19 is to blame for many of your canceled flights and holiday plans, but this disease is also putting people in the hospital.

“My husband’s been having a fever for two days now,” said Renee Beuerlein.

LINK: Florida COVID-19 Testing Sites

Beurlein is not surprised she and her husband ended up in line at CenturyLink because she knows the number of cases in the state is high.

Hundreds of people waited in a parking lot waiting for a COVID test, and hundreds more in cars lined up and overflowed onto 6 Mile Cypress Parkway, also waiting for their tests.

George Allemanos said, “it’s been 40 minutes so far. And I don’t know how much longer after I make the curve.”

Allemanos doesn’t care about the numbers. He just wants to go to Australia.

“If I don’t have one within 72 hours, I don’t get to go on my trip. The government screwed up my life right now. It’s I’m not worried about it. If I get it, I get it. It’s not a deadly disease,” Allemanos said.

It may not be deadly for him. He is healthy and vaccinated.

Lee Health Dr. Stephanie Stovall said these record numbers should not be used to terrorize people, but they should remind us not everyone has equal protection.

“So is it likely that most people are going to have mild disease? Yeah, it’s likely that most people are going to have mild disease. I think right now, those people who are at risk, I’m still worried for them that they’re at risk for severe disease. I don’t think that this variant is going to significantly lessen their chance of severe disease just based upon the fact that it’s a variant,” said Stovall.

Southwest Florida is not like Miami, Broward, or Palm Beach. COVID-19 case counts there are worse, but they are surging here too, and slowly our hospitals are feeling it.

Lee health had more than 50 COVID-19 patients in their hospitals today. That is up from 25 two weeks ago.

NCHΒ  said cases nearly doubled over the last two weeks. The hospital system went from nine patients to 17.

Stovall said, “we’ve learned what taxes our systems and how to make ourselves prepared for what’s going to come next. So in this scenario, I would say we’re not quite too alarmed, but we are definitely at our battle stations and prepared to meet what’s coming.”

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