State-run COVID-19 testing sites reopen, officials warn Floridians to stay cautious even as cases drop
ORLANDO, Fla. - State-run coronavirus testing sites reopened on Tuesday after shutting down over the weekend because of Tropical Storm Isaias.
The sites closed at 5 p.m. on Thursday out of an abundance of caution to keep individuals operating and attending the sites safe, state officials said. They reopened at 9 a.m. on Tuesday.
The 60 sites, which are in 23 counties, offer walk-up testing and drive-through testing. They all have freestanding structures including tents and other equipment, which cannot withstand tropical-storm-force winds and could cause damage if not secured.
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On Monday, Florida health officials reported 4,752 new cases. This is the smallest single-day increase in cases since June 23rd.
FOX 35 is taking a look at why cases have started to slowly drop recently.
During the closure of the test sites, Orange County reported lower numbers of new COVID-19 cases. The positivity rate went down from 8.1 percent on Friday to about 6.7 percent on Monday. Orange County Health Officer Dr. Raul Pino said that drop in cases could be linked to more people following CDC guidelines and not just because the testing site was closed, citing that "maybe the effect of the weekend is going to be felt today and tomorrow and not yesterday so we have to watch the data."
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Governor Ron DeSantis spoke in South Florida on Monday about the importance of testing. He pushed for more testing in those showing symptoms and people 65 and older. He also assured that the self swab tests will get results back faster.
“If we can focus on those people who really need the test results the quickest. I think we’re going to be able to improve," he said. "I think we’re going to have two sites with instant tests and you’re going to have the other drive-thru sites with the self swab and quicker turn around at the lab option which I’m really excited about."
The Governor also announced that antibody testing will soon be available at every state-sponsored test site. Antibody testing is already available at the state-run testing site at the Orange County Convention Center. This location also has a self-swab rapid-result test.
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