Just as some people predicted, the demand for COVID-19 tests has increased as we approach Christmas.
Some people are required to provide negative test results in order to travel. Other people choose to get tested to visit family in town.
“We wanted to be safe and cautious especially with the numbers going up," said Lauren and William Green, who got tested on Monday.
"You never know. It’s better to play on the safer side and know and be confident about the test result and know even though I’m feeling well, I know I have the proof to back it up," said William Green.
At the same time, many testing sites in Miami-Dade and Broward counties are reducing their hours of operation during the holiday season. That might explain the line of cars that wrapped around the Hard Rock Stadium’s mega testing site Monday morning.
Mike Jachles, the spokesperson for the Division of Emergency Management for the State of Florida said the line equaled a 2.5 to 3-hour wait time. He also indicated they were administering 3,400 tests per day in recent weeks and expected the number to reach between 3,700 and 3,900 per day due to the holiday rush.
“Just like we saw with Thanksgiving, we’ve seen an increase in demand. People apparently are traveling so they want to check their status,” Jachles said.
If you’re getting a rapid test, you’re still okay, but if you’re one of the people who want PCR test results by Christmas, you may not make it.
“If the labs see that increase in workload, they may not be able to turn those test results around in time,” Jachles said.
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport offers both antigen and PCR COVID-19 tests in Terminal 3 on the lower level. Some travelers are taking advantage of the convenience, especially because the line at FLL has much fewer people. Only ticketed passengers are allowed to get tested at the airport site.
As they wait for test results, families we spoke with say it's important to continue to follow CDC guidelines as well.
"We’re keeping our Christmas extremely small just to immediate family and outside and trying to keep even though we’re together, still socially distant even if we get that negative just to be safe. I think it’s just important to be safe. It’s not worth the risk," said Lauren Green.
Some test sites will limit their operating hours during the next few weeks, especially the mega-site at the Hard Rock Stadium.
“Just because the Hard Rock Stadium is closed doesn’t mean there are not alternative sites open. Some of those include the Miami Beach Convention Center. The sites in Fort Lauderdale at Holiday Park, and Mills Pond Park, CB Smith Park and Marlins Park,” Jachles said.