Hundreds tested at self-swab lanes at Orange County Convention Center

Some state-supported coronavirus testing sites began using self-swab lanes for symptomatic individuals this weekend, a move that is expected to reduce wait times and expedite test results.

On Thursday, the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) announced the new testing method. The following locations will offer it:

  • War Memorial Auditorium in Fort Lauderdale (Broward County)
  • Regency Square Mall (Duval County)
  • Orange County Convention Center (Orange County)
  • Hard Rock Stadium (Miami-Dade County)

Symptomatic individuals are directed to a separate lane for testing and provided a self-swab test under the supervision of a health care professional. Only those 5 years of age and older and who have COVID-19 symptoms will be offered the self-swab tests.

"This will add 500 tests a day for people with symptoms, but the difference is people will preregister, so they will have information ready when they come," said FDEM spokesman Mike Jachles, of the Orange County Convention Center test site.

Among the 1,300 tested at the Orange County Convention Center on Saturday, 300 used the self-test lanes. Results will be sent to a separate lab and will be available with 72 hours via email. 

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Appointments are reportedly not necessary to be tested. However, those going to the Orange County Convention Center and the Regency Square Mall sites can make an appointment at The other two locations are not taking appointments at this time.

"You’ll be able to send it to a lab that will turn it around in a more timely fashion, so this way you’re getting the results back, we hope within 72 hours instead of seven days," said Florida Gov.Ron DeSantis. "I think that will help people with their peace of mind,  but it’s also just more effective in terms if you have to isolate."

The four locations with self-swab tests will serve as a pilot program, FDEM said. If successful, it will be expanded to more state-run testing sites. Florida currently supports 50 COVID-19 testing sites, with the ability to complete up to 29,000 tests per day.


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