coronavirus testing

As Test Demand Rises, One Way to Beat the Lines: Hoof It

As cars back up in line for testing at the Miami Beach Convention Center, some recommend the walk-up option.

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Just as families decide how — or even whether — to celebrate the holidays together, the coronavirus is spreading in Florida at a pace not seen in months.

So demand for testing is up, as well.

That has led to long lines -- and waits -- such as the one Thursday at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

The number of tests conducted in Florida has jumped 50% over the last six weeks.

What's worse, the prevalence of the virus had jumped 67% over that period, as measured by the seven-day positivity rate for all tests.

But for those frustrated by the slow moving lines of cars stretching around city blocks, some regulars at the Miami Beach site had some advice for a quicker path: hoof it.

"This line is actually easier than the car," said Kadeen, pointing to the walk-up site on the south side of the convention center. "The drive through goes all the way around the corner, so I'd advise, if you’re coming out, do the walk in. It’s really fast, really easy."

Whether by foot or car, those who sit it out will be offered free rapid antigen tests, with results in hours, and a more precise PCR test, with results in two or three days.

Kadeen, like others we spoke to, needed the test results for travel, as she was headed to Jamaica to visit family for the holidays

"Jamaica recognizes the PCR from the US," she said. "They have a system where you have to upload it to a website, so when you get there on arrival everything is easy."

David's been getting tested every week or so, to stay safe, but Thursday had an additional motive.

"We’re going on Sunday to Aruba and need a test to go there anyway," he said, adding he was not going to chance a family Thanksgiving.

"We’ll do our thing, they’ll do their things," he said. "We got a couple of young grandchildren, so we don’t want to put them at any risk."

Alex, a chef, had other reasons for walking up.

"I'm going back to work so we work in safe environment so everybody gets tested every week," he said, adding some sound advice: "We're all responsible for each other in a sense, even though it's the holidays. We still have to make sure we’re staying safe and take care of the people around us."

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