There have been significantly more cases of COVID-19 reported across Florida in the last two weeks — and in Osceola County.

But there have been significantly more coronavirus tests performed as well, and based on the lines at drive-up testing facilities, that’s pretty clear.

Since testing facilities generally don’t require any symptoms to test, people can line up for testing for a handful of reasons.

  • Maybe they have a lingering fever or cough — classic COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Maybe a family member or co-worker came in contact with someone who tested positive.
  • Maybe they wanted peace of mind.

And at the Osceola County Department of Health, they don’t mind one bit. Every test performed generates a data point, especially positive cases that can mark what communities and ZIP codes begin to become “hot spots”.

This week, the Health Department stopped waiting for people to come to them, and went out to meet them. They’ve partnered with organizations who distribute food in the community — St. Rose of Lima Church on Tuesday, the Community Hope Center on Wednesday and the Osceola County Council on Aging Thursday — to offer testing at the same time as food pickup, and many of the families, who were coming to get food anyway, leave with a trunkful of food and a COVID-19 test.

At drive-up county testing events — Prescriptions Unlimited on 13th Street near downtown St. Cloud Monday through Friday, and Sunrise Pharmacy in Poinciana through Thursday of this week — demand has been high and lines have stretched out of parking lot on main roads. The data reflects that as 735 tests were returned from labs on Tuesday, the highest single-day total yet. The also produced 78 positive tests, also a single day high, for a 9.8 percent positive rate.

“If it will aid your comfort, get tested, and take all precautions and follow the CDC guidelines,” said Jeremy Lanier, a Health Department public information officer. “Outside of getting tested, we should assume we’re asymptomatic.”

From there it comes down to doing the simple preventive steps health officials have been repeating for three months now. It probably hurts your ears to hear it … but if you can consistently wear a mask, maintain six feet of distance from others, avoid touching your face and wash your hands often … you will probably be okay, and be doing your part to slow this latest rampant spread of the virus.

“These are simple things in our day to day lives, yes it’s hot and inconvenient, but it’s very important for each person to do what they can to slow this spread of an acceleration in active cases,” Lanier said. “The biggest rise is in the 20-to-34 age range, who usually need care for one day and they move on. But many live in multi-generational homes, where there’s grandparents and great-grandparents with immune compromised systems, we don’t want to lose them.”

So, for testing, there is Prescriptions Unlimited, and the weekly run at Sunrise Pharmacy ends today from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; expect the Health Department to announce a new location this weekend.’

Meanwhile, testing is available Mondays and Fridays by appointment only at the Florida Department of Health in Osceola County, 1875 Fortune Road, Kissimmee. Call 407-343-2000 to schedule.

And it’s available at Osceola Community Health Services Tuesdays at 109 Doverplum Avenue in Poinciana Thursdays at  1501 Bill Beck Blvd. in Kissimmee by appointment by calling 407-943-8600.