MIAMI GARDENS (CBSMiami) – As Florida’s number of coronavirus continues to surge, there has been an increase in the number of people wanting to be tested.
Anthony Vega, 20, told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that he recently took a test for COVID-19 at the Hard Rock Stadium test site even though he had no symptoms. He said he works at Cafe Tropical in Miami Gardens and had a lot of contact with other people and did not want to take any chances.
“I am relieved I came back negative,” he said. “But you know the coronavirus can be spread very easily. A lot of people may not know they have until they are tested because they are asymptomatic. I work in public at a restaurant and I do deliveries and I go to different places, touching things and interacting.”
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez told D’Oench, “A lot of people are taking advantage of the free sites so we will see how it goes. We really need the community to follow the rules and for everyone to take responsibility. We have seen a tremendous spoke in our residents who are 18 to 34 years old and they really need to take care of themselves and take care of their parents and grandparents. That’s a concern here.”
“We have had a tremendous spike in younger people so I think what happened was that when everything started to open up with the economy, they thought everything is great and everything is over but it is not over. A lot of young people decided not to comply with the regulations and did not social distance and went to parties, even private parties and some businesses are not complying with the rules. I think protests had something to do with it as well because most of the demonstrators are in the younger age group. It just takes one super carrier to spread this.”
At the test site at the Stadium, nearly 400 people were inside the gates waiting to be tested at 9 a.m. The site quickly reached its capacity (250) for antibody tests but continued to perform swab sample tests.
Antibody test results were given in 15-20 minutes via a phone call by on-site staff. Swab test results can take up to three to four days, depending on lab workload.
Some waited for hours in the heat, as the line of cars backed up to State Road 7.
State Test site spokesman Mike Jachles said, “When you get an anti-body test done the results are done immediately by the team on site. They will call you with the anti-body results. Swab tests have to go to the lab and take 3 to 4 days. Our web portal will give you the information.”
“We are asking people to have a little bit of planning and a lot of patience,” said Jachles. “We are asking people to have plenty of gas and make sure the air conditioning is working and make sure your windows can fully open and close because of not, they can’t perform a test on you. And the last thing we want is for you not to get tested.”
More than 26% of the tests in the county are coming back positive, so the county is implementing educational campaigns and “surge teams” to go into hotspot areas.
Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease specialist with FIU, said anything that brings people together in close proximity, whether it be a social gathering or recent protests, is contributing to the surge.
“This spike that we’re seeing now – it’s not just a spike. It started more slowly and it’s going up and up and up, and it will continue to do so,” she said. “And it’s all behavior-driven.”
On Thursday, Gimenez offered some advice for everyone.
“When you are outdoors and can’t meet social distancing of 6 feet put your mask on. Inside keep your mask on. Keep your mask unless you are in a restaurant and actually eating. Once you stop eating put your mask back on. Make sure you wash your hands and don’t touch your face. Follow these simple procedures and the risk will get lower. We know there are large numbers of young people who don’t have symptoms and who are going to infect you and infect your parents and grandparents. They are most at risk. Please follow the rules. Take personal responsibility and protect your grandparents, particularly people who are overweight and have underlying medical conditions.”
As for hospital beds, the mayor said the overall capacity in the county is very good and stable. He added that the number of COVID patients in a hospital is still considerably less than what we saw during the height of the pandemic.
Dr. Marty said beds aren’t the only things that should concern officials and health care workers should the state continue on this path.
“We’re going to be running out of vital equipment. We may run out of oxygen, we may run out of remdesivir, we may run out of steroids. All kinds of medications, all kinds of things that we need to help people stay alive,” she said.
Marty said the best thing we can do is follow the County and CDC guidelines.