Miami (CBSMiami) — The demand for COVID testing is high in South Florida, and the wait is long.
Lines formed at C.B. Smith Park in Broward, as well as Zoo Miami and Tropical Park in Miami-Dade.READ MORE: Giant Asteroid To Safely Zoom By Earth On Tuesday
“We’ve seen an over 200% increase in the demand for testing across the county,” Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava announced Wednesday.
To accommodate the influx, hours were expanded at sites like the Miami Beach Convention Center and Dolphin Mall.
“I want to be with my family on the holidays, and I just wanted to get tested,” said Alejandro Diaz, who waited five hours to get tested at the Dolphin Mall site.
“There were no appointments anywhere around, so I just came in,” he said. “I think it’s the only one, or one of the few ones, available for walk up.”
Ron Goncalves is General Manager for NOMI Health Florida, which manages Miami-Dade County’s testing and vaccination sites. He said they are dealing with an “unprecedented” surge of people at the testing sites.
“We’ve actually increased our staffing at the sites by about 50%, so we are continuing to onboard new staff members,” he said.
In Miami-Dade, there are 20 sites up and running, but some are busier than others.
“Tropical park, hands down, has really been very busy the past several days,” explained Goncalves. “Aventura tends to be very busy and South Dade Government Center. Again, most of the larger drive-thru test sites are going to be a little bit busier.”
He does not want people to be discouraged from getting a test, just to know the schedule and the sites available to be able to prepare in advance.
Goncalves says the busiest times are from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., with an uptick again from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.
There are three 24-hour sites to keep in mind:READ MORE: Citizen Scientists Discover Giant Jupiter-Like Planet
Tropical Park, South Dade Government Center, and FTX arena.
However, holiday hours are different.
In Miami Dade, on Christmas Eve, all testing sites close at 3 p.m.
On Christmas Day, the open sites are: Tropical Park, South Dade Government Center, and Miami-Dade College North Campus.
On New Year’s Eve, all Miami-Dade sites have regular hours except South Dade Government Center and Tropical Park, which close at 7 p.m.
On New Year’s Day, the open sites are: Tropical Park, South Dade Government Center, Miami Dade College North Campus, and PortMiami.
In Broward, all test sites are closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
For those thinking of getting an at-home kit, supply is limited.
Walgreens issued a statement saying, due to “incredible demand,” there is a four-item limit on testing products both in the store and online.
CVS has a six-item limit, and they warn there may be temporary out-of-stocks.
Goncalves says will be opening additional sites after the Christmas holiday and before New Years next week.MORE NEWS: On This MLK Day, Some Mobilize To Protect Voting Rights
You can look up the list of available testing sites in Broward and Miami-Dade.