A new drive-thru testing site will open in Palm Beach Tuesday morning to test patients for the novel coronavirus.
But according to Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner, all appointments for the site are filled through Thursday. Those appointments can be made by calling the Health Care District of Palm Beach County at 561-642-1000.
Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Friday that the National Guard would be setting up a new testing site in Palm Beach County. The drive-thru site will be located at the FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.
DeSantis praised the National Guard for their work on that new site, as well as other testing locations across the state.
“Any time we’ve needed something like this, it just happens,” DeSantis said of the National Guard’s work.
“You don’t have to worry about whether it’s going to be done right. It is.”
Added Mayor Kerner, “These soldiers have put together one of the most incredible and efficient sites in the state of Florida.”
Miami-Dade and Broward counties have continued to lead the state in confirmed coronavirus cases. As of an update Monday evening, Miami-Dade had 1,701 cases, followed by Broward with 1,137.
But Palm Beach has the third most confirmed cases, with 463. That still significantly trails Broward and Miami-Dade. But in his Friday announcement DeSantis noted Palm Beach had also received far fewer tests, which could contribute in part to the lower number of verified positives.
“I think it’s important to expand the testing there so that we can get a better sense of what’s going on,” DeSantis said.
That desire to ramp up testing was once again a topic of conversation during Monday’s news conference. Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz, who joined the Governor and Mayor, said the state will look to keep up that push in the coming days and weeks.
“We will continue to feed these sites to increase testing,” Moskowitz said. “And we look forward to potentially being able to support additional sites around the state of Florida.”
DeSantis also echoed those goals, saying he also hopes to have quicker tests available. Current PCR tests are being shipped to private labs, which evaluate the samples. The current process can take days to return a result.
“As soon as we have the ability to get more rapid tests deployed, believe me, we are going to do it,” DeSantis said.
“I understand how frustrating it could be. It gets sent off to a lab, and it’s waiting in line with 20,000 other samples and it takes time for that to go through. To be able to get a quick result is more efficient for our purposes and better for people’s state of mind.”
Monday, DeSantis announced an Executive Order to set up a unified “safer-at-home” order spanning Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.