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Riviera Beach closes COVID-19 testing site

City cites lack of demand at Wells Recreation Center
'Free COVID-19 Testing' sign outside COVID-19 testing and vaccination site at Mid County Senior Center, Aug. 6, 2021
Posted at 10:10 PM, Feb 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-22 08:15:39-05

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. — The city of Riviera Beach is making changes when it comes to handling COVID-19.

"Due to a lack of demand for COVID-19 testing at the Wells Recreation Center, the site has closed," the city said in a tweet.

"So, over the last two weeks, we've been monitoring the numbers, and, for example, over the last week went from 30 people in the day, to 20 people in a day, to 15 to 10, and yesterday we did five or six individuals," Riviera Beach Fire Rescue Chief John Curd said.

He said with such declining numbers, a site of that size wouldn't be able to sustain itself.

"We have several other sites," he said. "We have Walgreens, and we have some Walmarts that are doing some testing, and we think with the numbers that we're seeing the capacity should be able to be met at these sites."

The omicron surge has faded away. Infectious disease specialist Dr. Klepper De Almeida said there is probably one-tenth of the number of patients hospitalized now than five weeks ago.

But closing a COVID-19 testing site can be tricky.

"There are two ways to look at it," the doctor said. "Someone could say, 'Oh, it's premature.' The other could say, 'You're dragging your feet.' So, it's very hard for people to strike a balance."

He believes the world is in an "endemic" phase. But what does that mean and what does it look like?

De Almeida said England may be a good example. They've just announced an end to the remaining COVID-19 restrictions.

"I think there are a lot of factors that are happening right now that will move us in the United States to a similar situation," he said.

Curd said if the numbers suddenly increase, the city will bring back the Wells Recreation Center site if necessary.