ORLANDO, Fla. — Orange County’s COVID-19 testing site at the Orange County Convention Center is receiving help from the state to stay open, at least through Sunday.
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Starting Tuesday, the state will be supplying 250 test kits every day to offset dwindling supplies from the federal government. FEMA had distributed some 3,300 tests to the site and as of Monday night, only 78 were left.
As many as 328 people will be tested Tuesday to finish up FEMA’s kits.
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 teachers and 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.
The state is supplying enough test kits to last through at least Sunday, according to Lauren Luna with the Florida Association of Public Information Officers. Requests are out at both the state and federal level for more test kits.
The state’s kits consist of throat swabs, while the kits supplied by the federal government are nasal swabs. Officials have made clear that both tests are equally effective.
To get tested, you must:
- Have a fever of 99.6 or higher AND
- Respiratory symptoms OR
- Pre-existing conditions
- OR be a medical provider, regardless of symptoms
As COVID-19 cases continue to grow, local hospitals are bracing for more and more patients and expanded ways to provide critical care.
A business in Seminole County developed a mobile intensive care unit to meet the demand of this crisis. Read more about that here.
Meanwhile in Brevard County, hundreds were tested at the county's first coronavirus drive-thru site, which opened Tuesday: Omni Healthcare on Apollo Boulevard in Melbourne.
People showed up at the private facility for the quick nasal swab by a physician right in their vehicles. Those eligible are first responders, those with minimal symptoms of a cough or low-grade fever, over the age of 45 with a chronic illness, or anyone over the age of 60.
The healthcare workers are masked, wearing face shields, scrubs, and gloves.
"I have a slight sore throat, and I would rather be ahead of the game and find out," says 81-year-old Carol Ellis, who lives alone and is a breast cancer survivor.
"Identifying those who are immune and those who are susceptible is critically important," said Dr. Craig Deligdish of Omni Healthcare. "Testing is the first step because it tells us who's a carrier, who is colonized, who's infectious."
Inside the building 20 people are doing the pre-screening process and fielding calls.
Tests will be processed within 24 hours and patients notified by an OMNI healthcare worker via a virtual call.
The site is open from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. daily. It costs $51 to get tested if you are uninsured.