Coronavirus testing coming to Orange County this week

Orange County health officials announced new guidelines for COVID-19 testing that will start as early as Monday.

Orange County health officials announced new guidelines for COVID-19 testing that will start as early as Monday.

Testing begins Monday morning in east Orange County at a building on Alafaya Trail. However, the exact location was not disclosed in an effort to keep staff from getting overwhelmed. The county only has 150 test kits so far.

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To make an appointment, you first have to call 407-723-5004. You will go through a series of questions to determine if you can be tested.

“People who have symptoms, either exposed to a known positive person or traveled to one of the hotspot areas, that includes in the United States (will be tested)," said Dr, Raul Pino with the Florida Department of Health. “And, we are going to test anyone who is 65 years or older who has symptoms.”

Another site is being set up in The Villages, and an additional testing site is set to open Wednesday at the Orange County Convention Center.

The county will also begin targeted sentinel testing this week.

“We will go to random places in the community based on criteria that we have established and start testing random individuals,” Pino said. “The idea is, that could give us a better idea how the infection is distributing in our community.”

For those experiencing financial hardships due to the pandemic, the county is offering one-time rental assistance for residents of Orange County. It will also assist with unpaid utility bills.

“If you want crisis assistance and you are continuing to be paid by your employer, you will not be eligible for these emergency funds,” Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said. “This is for individuals who have lost employment or {are] furloughed without pay.”

The mayor also mentioned that they will be suspending disconnections for non-payment to Orange County utility companies.

Beginning Monday, the lobby of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office will be closed.