PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. – You don’t need to be exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 to get tested at C.B. Smith Park in Pembroke Pines.
Doctors hope testing of the asymptomatic will provide more information about how many people are actually carrying the virus.
“At first, we were only testing people sick enough to be admitted to a hospital. So, we were missing 80% of the cases. And so it continued to spread in our environment,” said Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease expert from Florida International University.
Marty says more testing means knowing where the virus is in our communities, considering people can be infected without showing symptoms. In South Korea, she says, they are testing close contacts of every positive coronavirus case.
The C.B. Smith test site is also rechecking people who have had the virus for at least 14 days.
“Having done so many thousands of tests here, we sort of have a pulse on what’s going on with this virus in the community. And it’s important now … to see who is negative after a 14-day isolation period,” said Dr. Jennifer Goldman, medical director at Memorial Healthcare System.
That information is important for people to know, Goldman said, but also for local officials and business leaders who are deciding how and when to reopen.
Antibody testing could also become helpful in that. Florida-based Abacus Pharma is manufacturing rapid antibody testing that requires just a stick of your finger.
“These antibody tests will give us a sense of how many people have actually had it, and also because we can do them anywhere, a proportion of those who are currently infected,” said Dr. Vincent Degennaro, CEO of Abacus Pharma.
C.B. Smith testing details:
To get tested at C.B. Smith Park you must register ahead of time by calling 954-276-4680 from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
You must be 18 or older, all people in your vehicle must be registered, and you’re required to bring valid ID.
They have the capacity for 800 tests a day. Lines have been much shorter than at many other test sites, which is one of the reasons they could open it up for asymptomatic people.
Once tested it takes 2-4 days before you’ll get a call with results.