ORLANDO, Fla. — Leaders at the Orange County Convention Center testing site say as they’re increasing their capacity to do more tests, they’re seeing shorter and shorter lines.
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A lot of Central Floridians have gotten tested at the Orange County Convention Center for COVID-19.
“So far over 3,700 have been administered at that site,” Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said in a press conference Wednesday.
Deployed Public Information Officer for the testing site Lauren Luna says for the site’s staff, this is home, and every one of those 3,785 tests is personal.
“This young woman rolled down her window and she just started crying, and she was thanking the nurse for being here, for having the availability to have someone with her underlying conditions be seen,” Luna said.
Until recently, the site’s limit was 250 tests a day, meaning sometimes dozens were turned away after waiting hours to be tested.
But starting at around 1 p.m. Wednesday until they closed at 5 p.m., there were no lines to get tested.
“So we think it’s a combination of people who understand they need to be tested, so they’re coming out early… and part of that we figured out is from UCF opening a site,” Luna said.
Now that they're getting COVID-19 tests from the state and federal governments, they’ve increased their capacity to 350 tests per day.
“As of right now, we have enough tests to get us through Sunday,” Luna said.
But even though the site looked deserted for most of Wednesday, Luna says they still administered 327 tests, which is almost their full capacity. Most people just came in the morning, she said.
Luna still suggests getting to the site as early as you can to make sure you get tested.
If a predicted surge in COVID-19 cases happens in Central Florida, Orange County leaders have even bigger plans for the convention center.
“We’re working with our region’s counties to request that the Orange County Convention Center be designated as a federal medical facility site, should we significantly exceed our region’s hospital capacity,” Demings said.
The mayor says they want to be prepared in case local hospitals can’t handle the surge.
For as long as the testing site can stay open, Luna says the staff will be ready to help people like they were their own family.
“They care enough to have a conversation. They care enough to be personally invested in the people that are coming through to them,” Luna said.