Spike in COVID-19 cases causes closures, cancellations, and long lines throughout South Florida

COVID-19 Testing — Courtesy: Shutterstock — Image by: zstock

As several South Florida counties reach a “high” risk level for COVID-19 transmission, residents are experiencing extremely long testing lines, store closures, and event cancellations.

With the holidays & Christmas approaching quickly, testing sites are experiencing exceptionally long lines.

Tropical Park, a 24/7 PCR testing and vaccination site in Miami-Dade County, has seen an influx of people getting tested ahead of holiday gatherings and festivities in the coming days.

Rapid testing is only available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the site, but if you take a rapid test, you may also take a PCR test for a more accurate result.

“I mean, we’re in Christmas and we don’t know if we’re going to be in the supermarket or somewhere and someone has COVID or something,” said a South Florida woman in line for a booster shot.

The testing site is seeing a mix of people getting tested either because they have COVID-like symptoms or simply want the peace of mind of a negative result before seeing family members for the holidays.

The long testing lines aren’t the only factor making this holiday season feel like “COVID deja vu.”

South Florida has also experienced an increase in event cancellations due to the surge in coronavirus cases.

Sunday night’s annual Jingle Ball concert was canceled over COVID-19 concerns.

The concert venue, FLA Live Arena, announced the event’s cancellation in a tweet, writing in part that “it is due to the increased transmission of the new COVID-19 variant and to further minimize any potential risks.”

The canceled concert was announced the morning after the Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas ship arrived in Miami with 48 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

The ship set sail on Dec. 11 with a total of 6,091 passengers, 95% of whom were fully vaccinated.

Of the 48 positive cases, 98% were fully vaccinated. The individuals were identified as a result of immediate contact tracing after a guest tested positive.

“Each person quickly went into quarantine,” according to a statement from Royal Caribbean. “Everyone who tested positive was asymptomatic or had mild symptoms, and we continuously monitored their health.”

The recent increase in cases has caused several businesses across South Florida to shut their doors.

Just this week, Apple temporarily closed its Brickell store due to the spike in cases and exposures among employees.

The store, located inside Brickell City Centre, was closed on Wednesday and Thursday but has since reopened according to Apple’s website.

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