ORLANDO, Fla. — More than a thousand coronavirus tests were administered at Econ Soccer Complex Tuesday, the first day Orange County opened a new drive-thru testing site there.

What You Need To Know

  • Orange County opened new drive-thru COVID-19 testing site at Econ Soccer Complex

  • The site was chosen because, in part, wastewater testing showed the area was likely a hotspot

  • The new location will be able to provide up to 1,500 test each day

The county opened the site to divert some of the overwhelming volume of visitors coming for tests at Barnett Park.

Orange County leaders also said they chose the complex in part because wastewater analysis shows that part of the county is a likely coronavirus hotspot. 

Wastewater analysis underway since the pandemic began, which tracks levels of a remnant of the COVID-19 virus in sewer water, shows numbers in the area have spiked dramatically.

Data from wastewater analysis is a good predictor of how much the virus has spread in a particular area, officials said.

The county official in charge of the project said that in the last three weeks, levels of the virus in the east service area’s wastewater treatment plant have surged to more than 15 times what they were just two months ago. It is the highest in the county and the highest level they’ve seen since the pandemic began.

While the wastewater tests determined where the county wanted to set up the second testing site, it was the number of people getting tested in general that convinced officials they needed another one in the first place.

“It has been incredibly busy (at Barnett Park) for the last two weeks,” said Orange County Health Services Administrator Daniella Sullivan. “And then unfortunately, we have been closing the line earlier.”

Officials say the Econ Soccer Complex will be able to provide up to 1,500 tests per day at that location.

“We’re expecting to split in half the volume of the patients that we’re receiving at the two locations,” Sullivan said.

Some people who came to Econ Soccer Complex for tests Tuesday expressed concern over recent spikes in infections and hospitalizations, now happening across the country and here in Florida.

Gabriel Álvarez needed to get a negative COVID-19 result before flying back to his home country of Honduras the following day.

“The new strain that’s going around, that Delta stuff, that’s getting dangerous,” Álvarez said. “It’s always good to get yourself checked out every once in a while. And there’s no cost, it’s cost-free, so why not?”

Kerrie Samuel works as an insurance agent in East Orange County and said she wasn't taking any chances.

“I think it’s great they have a testing site for this location," she said. "East Orlando is a highly congested area.”

With COVID-19 cases rising once again, she’s keeping her mask on and she’s put “masks required” signs back up on the door to her office and posted social distancing signs on her seats.

“My parents are elderly, I’m not a spring chicken and you just don’t know,” said Samuel.

She hopes others will take the surge in cases seriously.

“It’s unfortunate we may have to have a big surge again for people to take more precautions,” said Samuel.

For now the county will be administering tests at Econ Soccer Complex seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

You can check out Orange County’s map of area testing locations here