Testing sites in South Florida are back to normal operating hours after limited sites were open on Christmas.
Tropical Park opened at 7 a.m. Sunday and returned to its 24-hour operations. The other county sites that are normally open on Sundays were back to their normal hours.
South Floridians looking for a COVID-19 test were be able to get one on Christmas Day, but the sites that were open had limited hours and hours-long waits.
Testing sites located at Tropical Park, the South Dade Government Center and Miami-Dade College's North Campus were open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Between omicron spreading Christmas fear and those needing tests for travel, it's no surprise that the lines stretched for hours.
“We've been waiting for six hours and the car behind us cut too, so people are cutting,” one woman said.
One man in Tropical Park said he was taking the test as a precaution.
“My daughter was in contact with someone with Covid. She was tested positive then I had the three shots already."
He said he doesn’t have any symptoms but, “I don’t want to pass it to someone unconsciously.”
The demand for tests came after Florida broke its record for daily number of reported cases two days in a row — 31,758 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, 32,850 on Saturday. The increase is being driven by the spreading new omicron variant. The previous record was in August during the height of the delta wave in Florida with 27,584 cases.
To help alleviate demand, county workers distributed 12,500 at-home COVID test kits Friday at Miami-Dade libraries before the supplies ran out.
Residents and visitors lined up at five locations throughout the county hours before doors opened at 8:30 a.m. At the Westchester Regional Library location, the first 1,500 kits were distributed in less than 30 minutes.
Miami-Dade Police were forced to turn away drivers from the library as people were stunned and frustrated with how quickly they were distributed. Another 1,500 kits arrived later Friday morning, but were also quickly handed out.
Every person was allowed to take up to three kits. Many told NBC 6 News they had sick family members at home and could not keep waiting.
“As we tackle the spread of omicron and the recent surge in demand for COVID testing, Miami-Dade County is doing everything we can to make testing as accessible as possible across our community – including by distributing free take-home rapid test kits to residents,” Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said.
Kits will be available at 27 library locations in Miami-Dade County starting Monday, December 27.
If you need more information, please contact the participating library location or email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
Get updates on COVID-19 in your inbox. Click here to sign up for our weekly coronavirus newsletter.