COVID-19

ABC Action News: Dr. Berger Discusses How Closing COVID Test Sites During the Holidays Could Cause Spike in Cases

December 29, 2020

By: Rebecca Petit

Originally posted at 3:35 PM, Dec 28, 2020

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — COVID-19 testing sites in Hillsborough County are back open today after being closed for the holiday.

The car line moved quickly at the COVID testing site at the Vance Vogel Sports Complex in Riverview.

A few seconds of swabbing the nostrils and drivers can go about their day.

“We expected it to be a lot worse honestly. It wasn’t so bad, it tickled a little bit,” said John Ekanger.

Many are getting tested to protect their loved ones, after traveling.

“We’ve been quarantining pretty much the whole time. We got a couple of a babies, so we want to make sure we’re keeping them safe and everybody else for that matter,” Ekanger explained.

All public COVID testing sites in Hillsborough County were closed over the Christmas holiday, and will be closed again on New Year’s Day.

Tampa doctor, David Berger said, if tests are not readily available, this can increase the spread of the virus.

“Testing is a key, key component to controlling spread. If people were not able to get tested, did they have the wherewithal to keep themselves in a quarantine situation,” Dr. David Berger said.

Airport data shows that Christmas was the most heavily traveled period since last March.

Dr. Berger believes this will add to the number of COVID cases, putting more strain on hospitals.

“Even if we don’t see a spike and we’re just seeing a maintenance of the numbers that we are now. That’s not good, because people are going to be having higher morbidity and mortality, more people will die of the fewer ICU beds,” said Berger.

Dr. Berger said the healthcare system will be hit the hardest in the coming weeks as a result of increased holiday travel and closed testing sites.