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New year brings more COVID-19 testing woes in Palm Beach County

A COVID-19 testing site in Palm Beach County on Jan. 3, 2022.jpg
Posted at 3:17 PM, Jan 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-03 18:55:50-05

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Three days into the new year, we are once again seeing long lines at COVID-19 testing sites in Palm Beach County, similar to what we saw at the beginning of the pandemic nearly two years ago.

PGA Boulevard in Palm Beach County was clogged and congested Monday as a long line of cars inched forward.

"It's been an hour and a half now," said Josh De Jesus. "I need to get back to work."

People like De Jesus waited patiently for a COVID-19 test as the omicron variant fuels a winter wave and causes a record number of new cases in Florida.

"I feel maybe they should get more people involved so we don't have to wait as long," De Jesus said.

White tents have been set up around the county as the demand for testing continues to grow in the new year.

Farther south in Lake Park, Cherie O'Callaghan and her mother Doreen were tuck in another long line outside Fast Test Now.

Doreen needed a negative test to get back home to Vancouver.

"People are desperate because they have to fly out with this test," O'Callaghan said.

Long lines and hours-long wais could be the reality over the next few weeks.

"We should hit a peak anywhere from 10 days to two weeks from now and then it will start coming down very sharply as it's going up sharply," said Dr. Ira Longini, a professor at the University of Florida who helped author a study about the rapid spread of omicron.

Longini predicts infections will slow down in about two weeks in Florida as the virus runs out of susceptible people to infect.

"I think until we have most of the world's population vaccinated, we'll keep seeing variants," Longini said.

Until then, the lines will likely continue.

"Very surprised, but we'll be alright. Patience is a virtue," De Jesus said.

For a complete list of COVID-19 testing locations in Palm Beach County, click here.