During an afternoon news conference at the Palm Beach County Emergency Operations Center on Sunday, April 5, county officials announced plans for a second COVID-19 drive-thru testing center at the South County Civic Center at 16700 Jog Road in Delray Beach.
Slated to open Tuesday, April 7, this testing site will be operated in partnership with Cleveland Clinic Florida, the Florida Division of Emergency Management and with the support of the Florida National Guard. Alex Espinosa, chief operating officer of Cleveland Clinic Weston Hospital, said this will be the fifth drive-thru testing site operated by Cleveland Clinic Florida.
Persons wishing to be tested must be pre-approved and have an appointment before coming to the drive-thru center. Beginning Monday at 10 a.m., Cleveland Clinic will be conducting phone screenings to set appointments. The number is (561) 804-0250. The phone interview will cover the presence of symptoms, possible exposures and risk factors. Callers who are approved to be tested will be given an appointment date and time slot.
The South County testing center is expected to be able to do approximately 300 tests per day. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to noon Saturday.
As of 1 p.m. Sunday, Palm Beach County had 998 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 49 deaths. Among them was Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Sgt. Jose Ayala, who died Saturday. Statewide, there were 12,151 confirmed cases and 218 deaths.
Dr. Alina Alonso, director of the Florida Department of Health-Palm Beach County, said the state of Florida is No. 2 nationally behind New York in the number of people tested for COVID-19. Through April 4, a total of 113,451 people in Florida had been tested. Of those, 12,151 were positive for a rate of 10.7 percent.
“We only have two weapons to fight this virus — social distancing and testing,” Alonso said. “We have to test more people, not because we’re going to treat them different, but so that we know what the load is in the community.”
Palm Beach County Vice Mayor Robert Weinroth urged residents to continue to adhere to executive orders prohibiting the use of public and private recreation facilities such as golf courses and community swimming pools. “This is a sacrifice, but it’s a short-term sacrifice for the long-term goal of having more of us survive this epidemic,” he said.
State Attorney Dave Aronberg said that jury trials, jury selection and grand jury proceedings will remain on hold at least until April 17. At the Palm Beach County Jail, he said all incoming inmates undergo a medical examination and that no one displaying any symptoms will be allowed into the jail facility. Also, no visitors are currently allowed at the jail.