By Ashley Ferraro
COVID-19 testing is not something you want to think about until you have to, but being prepared is always a good idea. As Florida continues to contain the spread of the virus, local resources have thankfully become more abundant to citizens.
The two main types of COVID-19 testing are the PCR swab test and the antibody blood test. The PCR test is administered by collecting a swab of the nasal cavity or the throat. It is recommended for anyone who is experiencing symptoms or thinks they may have been exposed to the virus, and it’s also the most accessible and readily available test. According to One Blood’s website, the COVID-19 antibody test does not test for the presence of an active infection. It only tests to determine if the patient’s blood contains antibodies to the virus. If you wish to take an antibody test, OneBlood will conduct the test upon donating blood.
The PCR test is readily available for Broward County residents via Walk-up testing and Drive Thru testing. The Drive Thru testing is just as it sounds—patients wait in line to get tested without ever having to leave their car. Many people feel more comfortable with this option, since it heavily limits exposure to others.
According to Florida Disaster’s website, Walk-up testing sites in Broward include Mitchell Moore Park, Urban League, Miramar Vernon Hargray Youth Enrichment Center, Publix at Coral Ridge (18+), Mullins Park, Sawgrass Mills (18+), and Lauderhill Sports Park. Currently all Walk Up testing sites in Broward County do not require an appointment.
Drive Thru testing is taking place at CB Smith Park (registration required, call 954-276-4680) and at War Memorial (for appointments, call 1-800-209-7919). Both sites require patients to be over 5 years of age.
If you plan to visit a testing center, you are required to bring a government issued ID (does not need to be a Florida Drivers License) as well as your health insurance card, although everyone will be tested regardless if they have insurance. It’s also important to note that you must bring your own pen to fill out forms at the testing site. Each individual site will give you instructions on what to do while you await your results. Continue to monitor your symptoms, and your results will be delivered either via phone call or through a patient portal.
According to the City of Parkland’s website, if you do test positive, you should not leave your house, except to get medical care. It’s also important to separate yourself from both the people and animals inside your home. You can remind your dog how much you love him when you’re feeling better. Stay in your room, don’t share anything, and use a separate bathroom if possible! In order to prevent the spread of the virus within your home, wash your hands often and regularly sanitize high-touch surfaces (tabletops, doorknobs, phones, toilets, etc.) with a household cleaning spray or wipes.
For local updates and COVID-19 resources and testing sites, visit the following websites: