A drive-thru COVID-19 testing site in Broward County has already begun to draw a massive line of worried Floridians. The temporary testing site, which is being operated by the Florida National Guard and the Memorial Healthcare System, is one of several drive-thru centers to open in South Florida over the past few days in an attempt to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. The Broward test site has been set up at C.B. Smith Park, across the street from Memorial Hospital West, in Pembroke Pines.
The test is free, but to be eligible, a person must already be showing symptoms of COVID-19 and fall into one of three categories: healthcare workers and first responders; seniors aged 65 or older; and symptomatic individuals who recently traveled abroad. A photo ID is required. Testing will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Delays are expected to reach up to two hours, so officials recommend that those interested in testing have enough gas. Vehicle occupants will be screened by professionals wearing protective suits. If a person proves to fit the testing criteria, he or she will be directed to the testing tents, according to the Miami Herald. Tests can take three to four days to be processed.
Also, only people in motor vehicles will be administered tests. Pedestrians and cyclists will be turned away, according to a press release by Memorial Healthcare System.
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Though testing is limited because of very narrow criteria, observers noted that the line outside the facility is already backed up down Johnson Street all the way to Taft Street. The site's testing capacity or whether it will be expanded in the coming days is unclear.
The Florida National Guard did not respond to an email from New Times seeking more information.
Yesterday, Gov. Ron DeSantis visited the pop-up site, where he called Broward County the "epicenter" of the novel coronavirus outbreak in Florida. As of this afternoon, Broward has reported 124 confirmed cases of COVID-19; Miami-Dade has 113 confirmed cases. Statewide, there are 520 confirmed cases, and more than 1,000 people are being monitored.
The extremely long line to get tested for COVID-19 at CB Smith Park this morning. Criteria to get tested in replies ???????? pic.twitter.com/FqF55R6nXB— Joel Franco (@OfficialJoelF) March 20, 2020