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As many wrapped a different Thanksgiving this year, some spent Black Friday at COVID-19 testing sites.
From cars lined up at Amelia Earhart Park, to a two hour wait time at Hard Rock Stadium, to a busy morning rush at Holiday Park, there were some long lines all across South Florida as people went out to get tested for the coronavirus.
“Last Wednesday they (Holiday Park Testing Site) did over 2100 tests in one day and that’s up about 400 versus the average day so I expect that number will be high again today as people return to town or want to get out and get tested after the holiday,” said Fort Lauderdale City Manager, Chris Lagerbloom.
Health experts with the Centers for Disease Control are concerned about a surge in COVID-19 cases after Thanksgiving as their forecasting models predict the virus death toll in the U.S. could reach up to 321,000 by mid-December.
“They all predict a very serious rise in cases and unbelievably high percent of people who will end up having succumbed to this illness,” said Dr. Aileen Marty, Infectious Disease Specialist at FIU.
According to NBC News, the total number of reported COVID-19 Cases is now over 13 million in the United States with 264,712 reported deaths.
In Florida, the 14-day average positivity rate is currently at 7.7 percent.
“There’s more people presenting to hospitals with symptoms of Covid, but we have found ways of managing more people at home without having to hospitalize them so leaving more room in the hospital for more patients by doing that,” said Dr. Marty. “Overall, the net effect is that there aren’t as many people in the hospital with Covid-19 as there were before.”
As some wait for test results, others are hopeful that a vaccine could be around the corner.
Fort Lauderdale City Manager Chris Lagerbloom says Holiday Park testing site could eventually transition to a drive-thru vaccination site once it becomes readily available.
COVID-19 patients develop a certain level of immunity after battling the virus, but new studies find it may not last long.
“We’re starting that discussion now with the Department of Health on converting part of this site to a vaccination site,” said Lagerbloom. “It’s just great that we’re talking about a vaccine and not talking about completely just testing at this point. That this is a discussion that is really happening.”
In Fort Lauderdale, Holiday Park will be open on Saturday from 9am to 3pm. Mills Pond Park will be open from 9am to 4pm on Saturday. Both sites will be closed on Sunday, November 29th.
You can find full list of COVID-19 testing sites in South Florida here.