ORLANDO, Fla. — One of Central Florida’s first large-scale drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites opened to long lines of cars Wednesday.
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Testing began at 9 a.m. in the north parking lot at the Orange County Convention Center; 5980 Destination Parkway or 9400 Universal Boulevard can be used for a GPS location.
Patients need to first be screened before they can be tested.
Not everyone right now is eligible for testing at this location. Those who are eligible include those 65 or older, people with an on-site temperature of 99.6 or higher with respiratory symptoms, and first responders and medical staff with a valid agency ID.
First responders and medical staff do not need to have symptoms to be tested.
Charter Communications has temporarily opened its live stream free to the public. You can watch Spectrum News via our live stream on your desktop or laptop without a subscription by visiting our website and clicking “Watch Live” in the upper right. Charter also is temporarily offering free broadband and wifi access for 60 days to families with K-12 or college students. To enroll, call 1-844-488-8395. The company also will open more than half a million wifi hotspots across the country.
National Guard medics are administering the tests via nose swabs. More than 260 guardsmen and 40 nurses are at the site, plus state and local agencies, assisting with the efforts.
As of Wednesday morning, there were 2,400 test kits at this site, and mre could be coming.
“It’s in flux, because the federal government could send more. So that all depends on what the allotment is and what comes in at the federal level,” said Lauren Luna of the Florida Association of Public Information Officers.
Officially, the site is open till 5 p.m. but could close sooner, if workers have tested 250 people -- federal officials have mandated that the amount of tests per site be capped. Some drive-thru sites such as the one in Miami -- one of the hardest-hit regions in the state -- have gotten clearance to run more.
Patients cannot leave their cars for any reason. There are no on-site bathrooms for people in line.
Patients are asked to limit the amount of people in their cars in order to limit exposure and sit on the same side of the vehicle, if possible, to help speed up the process.
The testing site is being operated in collaboration with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Florida National Guard, Florida Division of Emergency Management, and several other federal, state and local entities.