Saturday, September 25, 2021

Barnett Park COVID-19 Test Site Closes Early Again As Cases Rise

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Jadiel Hernandez lined up at 7 a.m. and said he needed to get a test before traveling to Puerto Rico later this week. Many cars were lined up early Tuesday morning to get a coronavirus test as recent cases continue to grow and by 2 p.m. the site was forced to close early after reaching capacity.

“Yup, there’s a lot of people but it’s better than how it was before,” Hernandez said.

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On Monday, the site also closed early after Orange County reported it had reached capacity for testing. The site opens at 9 a.m. daily for testing and vaccines.

Barnett Park testing site coordinator Daniella Sullivan said the demand for testing is similar to what the site experienced over the Thanksgiving holiday.

To accommodate for the testing, the coordinator at the site said they had to reduce the number of lanes for vaccinations to make room for testing.

Shervin Briscoe tried getting a COVID-19 test Monday since he’s flying to Jamaica this week but had to leave.

“Right now, I only have one vaccine tent because the demand for vaccination is so low compared to the amount of testing today,” Sullivan said. “Today we have three tents fully dedicated to testing and one tent dedicated to vaccination.”

“The line yesterday was rough. I came here yesterday and left,” Briscoe said.

Long lines at Barnett Park COVID-19 testing site continue as cases are on the rise

On Monday, Orange County leaders explained COVID-19 cases are on the rise and reported about 2,000 cases over the weekend.

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Capacity at Central Florida hospitals continues to increase as well. Orlando Regional Medical Center is at 97% capacity, Advent Health Orlando was at 93% capacity and Halifax Health in Daytona Beach was at 55% capacity as of Monday night.

Health officials stressed most of the cases are people who haven’t been vaccinated.

Esther Amill, who brought her cousin from Puerto Rico to get tested at Barnett Park, said she is worried about things getting worse in Orange County.

Dr. Raul Pino, from the Florida Department of Health in Orange County, said the county is now seeing new COVID-19 cases in numbers similar to what was seen in January which is when Florida saw its highest peak of new cases.

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“Until the virus is completely gone, which I don’t think is gonna be completely gone just like the flu, but you know we really, really need to mitigate all the dangers of it,” Amill said.

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