A line of cars snaked through CB Smith Park in Pembroke Pines Friday morning as workers dressed in green hospital scrubs stood under white tents and began testing people for COVID-19.
The mobile testing drive-thru site, which is across the street from Memorial Hospital West, opened after 4,000 testing kits were delivered by the state. It opened at 9 a.m. and was expected to stay open until 5 p.m. It wasn’t clear how many days the site would be open.
The swab test — not including wait time — is only expected to take about eight minutes, but results could take about three days, according to Memorial.
Jennifer Goldman, a board certified family physician and the medical director of Memorial Primary Care, said Friday that more than 200 people had been tested by 12:30 p.m. Wait time was running about 2 1/2 hours.
Three groups of people were being prioritized: healthcare workers and first responders; people 65 and older who are displaying symptoms including a cough, fever and difficulty breathing; and people who has traveled outside the country. That could change if more kits become available.
Goldman said for now anyone being tested needs to meet Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria. There was no information on how many people were turned away.
“We don’t want people to make the trip if they don’t qualify,” Goldman said.
Members of the Florida National Guard stood watch at the park’s main entrance at Flamingo Road and Johnson Street. There was one main line. Once people get to the front, they are sent into six different lines. No one has to get out of their cars.
Pembroke Pines police helped control the traffic outside the park.
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On Thursday, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that the sprawling, nearly 300-acre park, which has been home to KISS Country’s Chili Cookoff, would be temporarily closed and used by the Florida National Guard in partnership with Memorial Healthcare System.
Memorial Healthcare is in the process of getting a hospital lab ready to process COVID-19 test samples, which could speed up how long it takes to get the results.
The Broward site is part of the state’s effort to build its testing capacity. Earlier this week, Community Health of South Florida began testing patients at its Doris Ison Health Center, 10300 SW 216th St. in South Miami-Dade.