MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Coral Gables and Hialeah have set up COVID-19 testing sites for frontline workers.
At the Coral Gables site, the University of Miami was administering two types of tests for Coral Gables Police and Fire Department personnel.
It’s all on a voluntary basis. Still, Marcos de la Rosa, deputy chief of the Coral Gables Fire Department, expected a big turnout.
De la Rosa appreciates the collaboration that went into creating spaces to test those on the front lines.
“This is a great project for us to be able to see the prevalence within our workforce and how we can best protect them and also protect our community,” he said. “So we thank the University of Miami for giving us this opportunity to participate.”
First responders were able to come after their shifts to get the antibody tests, which may show if a person previously had COVID-19. They could also test to prove current infection.
In Hialeah, free coronavirus drive-thru testing for first responders was set up at Hialeah Fire Station 1.
It was an effort led by Miami-Dade Commissioner Esteban Bovo, in part, to show appreciation for the work they’re doing.
“They are the unsung heroes that are on a daily basis in our community. Either serving calls or attending to issues that many of us don’t want to be involved in. So again, I want to thank them,” he said.
Making testing available and keeping frontline workers healthy will be an ongoing process, but one that lets them know how important they are.
HIALEAH, Fla. – According to the Florida Department of Health numbers, Hialeah has the second highest positive coronavirus from test results in the state of Florida.
With the number of cases continuing to be on the rise, Hialeah’s fire department wanted to find out which of its firefighters have been exposed and which have not. The department secured rapid antibody testing through the University of Miami. Researchers from the university were helping to administer the tests at Fire Station No. 7.
David Rodriguez, District Chief, Hialeah Fire Department, believes the effort may be the first of its kind as about 230 firefighters will be tested.
“We’re probably one of the first in the country, maybe even the nation,” said Rodriguez. “We’re trying to do this to get an idea, to get a baseline, of the health of our firefighters.”
The test will determine if any of the firefighters have been exposed to COVID-19, and, if so, if any have immunity.
“It’s kind of giving an idea of, throughout the whole fire department, what we’re dealing with. Some people don’t feel any symptoms whatsoever. Some people could have it, some may not,” said Rodriguez.
Of the 146 firefighters tested so far since Wednesday, officials said seven have been positive for antibodies and are now isolated while awaiting the results of a swab test to find out if they are still infected.
The tests take only seconds to administer involving a simple prick of the finger with results coming back in 10 to 15 minutes.