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Palm Beach County coronavirus cases expected to rise as testing expands

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Posted at 5:12 AM, Mar 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-30 09:21:03-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Palm Beach County is bracing for a rise in the number of positive coronavirus cases this week.

In a news conference Sunday afternoon, county leaders said the increase is expected as more testing become available.

A COVID-19 drive-through testing center will open Tuesday at the FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach.

"As a result of this increased testing, you will see an increase in the number of positive tests," said Dr. Alina Alonso, director of the Florida Department of Health-Palm Beach County. "That is actually a good thing because now we will begin to know our real numbers."

Appointments will be available to people of any age who are displaying symptoms of COVID-19.

"We have been only testing people who are over 65 with symptoms," Alonso said. "So, think about it. We've only tested people who've been really, really sick."

Staff will take appointments Monday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. via telephone.

To make an appointment, call the Health Care District of Palm Beach County at 561-642-1000.

A brief telephone interview will be conducted to determine eligibility for COVID-19 testing.

Test results are expected within two to three days. However, it could take longer.

Commissioner Mack Bernard said he will continue the ongoing effort for more testing in Palm Beach County.

Proportionally, the county is well behind Miami-Dade and Broward on the number of people actually tested.

"We've looked at the numbers for Boca Raton, Boynton Beach and Delray Beach," said Bernard. "On Tuesday evening, we're going to work on getting that site in south county."

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that the state ordered an additional 2,500 test kits to supplement the adequate resources already available to test for COVID-19.

A news release explains the additional test kits will enable the Department of Health, working with Florida health care providers, to test up to an additional 625,000 individuals.

The site will be operated by the Health Care District of Palm Beach County and Florida National Guardsmen.