Coronavirus Testing in Miami is Abysmal

Testing for the COVID-19 coronavirus in Miami-Dade and South Florida is and has been painstakingly slow. The failure of this basic health care necessity can not be overstated.

It’s April and South Florida is barely testing.

In Miami-Dade, a hotspot for the epidemic, as of this writing, there are only three drive-thru testing centers up-and-running, Marlins Park, Hard Rock Stadium and just today, Hadley Park near Liberty City.

All of these centers require appointments and you need to understand just how little they are testing. This information is direct from as of March 31, at 3 p.m.

Marlins Park tests 300 people per day and you have to be 65 years or older and show symptoms.

Hard Rock Stadium is only testing first responders and those who are 65 years and older with symptoms.

In the private sector, we are testing but slowly. Testing is only for elderly patients, healthcare workers and hospitalized patients.

It still takes days and almost a week for results. And if you do not have symptoms, you will not be tested, per the health department.

Even though many carriers of the virus will show absolutely no symptoms, there are just not enough tests, yet. Rapid testing is apparently coming, but that’s been the word for about ten days.

Rapid testing will take awhile to arrive in fruition.

Coronavirus Testing Miami

To be fair, testing is really slow across the country.  And, the COVID-19 coronavirus is not the end of the world. It really isn’t.

The problem is South Florida is a hot spot for the virus.

The NHO named the COVID-19 coronavirus a pandemic on March 11, the same day the NBA suspended its season, and widely acknowledged as the day this contagion changed society.

During that time, in Miami, it was peak tourism season. Our beaches, hotels and restaurants were flooded with international snowbirds, tourists, party goers and Spring Breakers . All of the tourists are gone, exiled back to who knows where. Miami’s mayor tested positive for the virus almost three weeks ago and we are still barely testing.

Imagine how many nurses and nursing aides taking care of our seniors may be carriers. How many strong and healthy first responders who may not show symptoms are carriers? Imagine how many tourists caught it here and took it back to who knows where.

How can we possibly go back to living a normal life until testing for this is as widespread as testing for the flu? And honestly, do you see that coming anytime soon?

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J.J. Colagrande

Has written about Miami culture for almost twenty years, first with The Miami Herald, then Miami New Times and Huffington Post. He's the publisher of The Jitney and a full-time professor.