Huge Lines in Florida for COVID Testing As Delta Variant Spirals Out of Control

People in Florida have queued for hours to get tested for COVID-19 after the state reported record-breaking new case numbers, with the Delta variant continuing to spread.

Videos posted on social media showed huge lines of vehicles outside the Barnett Park drive-thru testing site in Orlando on Sunday.

As reported by Spectrum News, people were in line to get tested at around 6 a.m., hours before the site opened at 9 a.m. Barnett Park has also had to close early in recent days because it had already reached its capacity.

"Earlier, everybody was wearing masks and everything," Orange County resident Malcolm DeNeal told Spectrum News. "Now people are just going about their business without masks and crammed in everywhere, so we're worried. So, we've come to get tested."

The long queues arrived after Florida recorded 21,683 new cases of COVID-19 on July 31, breaking its previous record of 19,334 cases reported on January 7.

The surge of the Delta variant has also meant that Florida broke its record for current hospitalizations from COVID.

On Sunday, Florida had 10,207 people hospitalized with confirmed COVID-19 cases, overtaking the previous high of 10,170 on July 23, 2020.

Hundreds of people already waiting - and a LONG line of cars wrapped around Barnett Park in Orlando - before @OrangeCoFL COVID-19 testing begins for the day.

Some showed up before 6am. @CDCgov data on Saturday shows Florida set a new record with 21,683 new cases. @MyNews13

— Jeff Allen (@News13JeffAllen) August 1, 2021

Florida Representative Anna Eskamani has requested that an additional testing site be opened in Orange County to help deal with the rise of cases.

"Constituents are struggling to get in & many can't wait several hours for a test. The Fashion Square Parking lot might be an option? Or lot across the street?" Eskamani tweeted.

Despite the surge in new cases and hospitalizations, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has insisted there will be no more restrictions or mandates imposed in the state.

DeSantis recently signed an executive order allowing parents to decide if their children should wear a mask in schools when classes return.

"I think that's the fairest way to do it, to let the parents have the decision. It would not be fair if we told parents who wanted the kids to wear masks they weren't allowed to do it," DeSantis said at a press conference in Cape Coral on July 30.

"But it's certainly not fair to force parents who don't believe that masks are good for their kids, to force them to have to send their kids in masks. So this way, parents are able to make the decision that's best for their families," he added.

On Sunday, DeSantis also tweeted a quote from Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, professor of Medicine at Stanford University, stating that further lockdowns are not required as: "We have protected the vulnerable by vaccinating the older population."

In a previous statement to Newsweek regarding the decision to not impose a mask mandate at Florida schools, DeSantis' press secretary, Christina Pushaw, said that decisions from the government and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) "do not keep people safe" from COVID.

"People in Florida are free to take any precautions they wish, from getting vaccinated, to wearing as many masks as they want, to masking their children, to avoiding crowded places, to staying home indefinitely—or even doing all of the above. But no one is 'free' to dictate how other people live their lives," Pushaw said.

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber has criticized DeSantis' response to the surge of new COVID cases in the state, describing the governor of acting like a "pied piper leading everybody off a cliff" by telling people they can do "whatever they want when we're in the midst of an enormous pandemic."

florida covid testing
(File photo) A healthcare worker at a drive-thru site setup by Miami-Dade and Nomi Health in Tropical Park prepares to administer a COVID-19 vaccine on July 26, 2021 in Miami. There have been large queues at the Barnett Park testing site in Orange County as Florida hits record breaking cases of COVID. Joe Raedle/Getty Images