Orange County opens new COVID-19 testing site amid surge in cases

Orange County is getting ready for more testing after the Christmas holiday.

The Barnett Park COVID-19 testing site has been busy every day since last Wednesday.

On Monday, Orange County opened another COVID-19 testing site on the other side of Interstate 4 (I-4) at Econ Park. Both PCR and rapid tests will be available. Anyone can get tested at the drive-thru site, but there is a limit of no more than four people in each car. No walk-ups will be allowed.

People waiting in long lines for testing at Barnett Park said this new site should help ease the congestion there.

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"If it's more people to lessen these lines, then yeah," said Nichole McKenzie, who was getting tested at Barnett Park. "If it's another site to lessen lines, that's fine."

Orlando physicians explained that much of the demand for testing is coming from employers.

"The CDC is saying in order to get back into the workforce, you need to have that negative test. I think that's certainly causing a lot of concern," said Dr. Matthew Knight, an Orlando physician.

Dr. Knight also said that if you are feeling the symptoms, it's important to know your status.

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"You want to know where you are. If you have COVID or Omicron, you're going to want to quarantine yourself and stay away from loved ones, especially the elderly or those who have medical problems," he said.

There are several other locations in Central Florida where you can get tested, including CVS Health, Walmart and Quest Diagnostics, AdventHealth Centra Care, Guidewell Emergency Doctors, UCF and Aventus Biolabs, and even the Orlando International Airport.

The recent surge in COVID-19 cases is caused by the spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant. On Christmas Day, Florida health officials reported 32,850 new coronavirus cases, breaking the record for the most cases in a single day since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

A new study from the United Kingdom just released encouraging news about the Omicron variant though. It showed that patients are 70 percent less likely to go to the hospital for this variant in comparison to the delta variant.

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The Omicron variant reportedly yields little to no symptoms for most people. It tends to be mild for those with symptoms and similar to what one would experience when undergoing a cold.

There reportedly have also been very few hospitalizations as a result of the Omicron variant.

Officials in South Africa, where the Omicron variant was first detected, said that positive test results for the variant spiked quickly and then dropped dramatically.

Watch FOX 35 Orlando for the latest Central Florida news.