Free COVID tests bring steady stream of cars at sites

Published: Jan. 7, 2022 at 1:06 PM EST
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COVID-19 testing kits were distributed at a quick pace at multiple sites in Palm Beach County on Friday.

Vehicles lined up for more than a half-mile at some locations.

County Commissioner Mack Bernard said 45,000 at-home test kits are being handed out at seven sites throughout the county Friday. Eight locations will be open Saturday.

Part of the county's shipment arrived from the state late Wednesday with the rest arriving Thursday.

Paul Sacher, a Jupiter resident, said he felt sick last week and has been scrambling to find a COVID-19 test.

"Even though I've been double vaccinated and boosted, I felt like I had (COVID-19) last week," Sacher said. "I was on a computer for quite a while checking out all the CVSs, Walgreens. It was virtually impossible to get a test until a week from the time I really needed it."

Proof of Palm Beach County residency must be shown to receive the tests at the distribution sites.

A site at Jupiter Community Park had a steady stream of cars with people picking up the test kits. This site is only open Friday.

People can beat the long waits at PCR testing sites by getting the at-home rapid tests. So, is there a way to self-report a positive test?

"If you do get a positive test, please go ahead and get a PCR test, so that way you'll be able to know exactly if you have COVID," Bernard said.

The county health department said the state does not accept self-reporting for at-home tests.

If you get a positive at-home test, and you have symptoms, talk to your medical provider and confirm the test with a PCR test.

Whether symptomatic or not, health officials say to follow the CDC's quarantine guidelines.

Bernard said the 45,000 at-home test kits from the state are helpful but more are needed.

"Right now, we have so many people waiting in line four to five hours, and they need to know their status," Bernard said. "Home testing is important. It's just one tool in the toolbox."

The at-home tests provide quick results in about 15 minutes.

Lisa Olivier agrees the at-home testing may not reflect actual transmission in the county, but it's the fastest way to make sure you're not spreading COVID.

"You just never know. You get exposed, and the tests are very hard to come by," Olivier said. "At CVS, I mean the wait time for those, they are pretty far out."

Officials added two additional sites that will be open Saturday in Riviera Beach and Delray Beach.

Below is a list of distribution sites in Palm Beach County starting at 10 a.m. Saturday. These sites will remain open until the allotment for the day has been given out or 2 p.m.

Dan Calloway Recreation Center 1472 Martin Luther King Blvd., Riviera Beach

Dyer Park 7301 N. Haverhill Road, West Palm Beach

John Prince Park 2700 6th Avenue South, Lake Worth

Commons Park 1600 Poinciana Blvd., Royal Palm Beach

Glades Pioneer Park 866 State Road 715, Belle Glade

Pompey Park 1101 Northwest Second St., Delray Beach

West Delray Regional Park 10875 W. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach

City of Boca Raton Administration Complex 6500 Congress Ave., Boca Raton

For more info on COVID-19 testing, visit the Palm Beach County COVID-19 website or contact the Department of Health COVID-19 Call Center, available 24/7, at 1(866) 779-6121 or email: COVID-19@flhealth.gov.

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