Long lines, waits at COVID-19 testing sites in Florida as COVID set new statewide records

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Floridians hoping to get COVID-19 tests waited in long lines, sometimes for hours, on Sunday, the day after many had gathered with friends and relatives for Christmas.

At a drive-through testing site at Barnett Park in Orlando, hundreds of people waited in their cars in the dark before it opened, and it reached capacity by mid-day.

“We just got back from the plane and everybody was coughing so we really wanted to see if we had COVID,” Yaree Pierre told Orlando television station WFTV.

In Tampa, the West Tampa Neighborhood Service Center had a line wrapped around the building for much of Sunday, as residents waited to get COVID-19 tests, according to Tampa television station WTSP.

Florida hit a new record in the pandemic for the second day in a row over the weekend as the state reported 32,850 daily new cases on Saturday.

Back in Orlando, Aaliyah Reid told WFTV that she came early after exhausting other options and she’d do it again just for the feeling of safety.

“Honestly, I was expecting it because it was packed before Christmas, and I was like this is my last stop,” Reid said. “CVS, Walgreens, all those were booked. Honestly this is the last resort, I’d come here at 3 a.m. if I had to.”