A COVID-19 testing site set up for two weeks in Miami Lakes drew nearly 2,000 people eager to know whether they had the virus.
“People from all over Miami [-Dade County] were there,” said Alejandro Damiron, chief of staff for SOMOS Community Care said after the first day on July 20.
SOMOS is a non-profit network of health care professionals in New York City who primarily treat immigrant and low-income communities.
The company offered free tests on the grounds of the town’s Youth Center.
“Miami Gardens, Carol City, Hialeah and Miami Lakes were the most prominent locations [where patients came from],” Damiron said after that first day.
The staff worked in hot tents, swabbing nasal passages and drawing blood from patients. A lab determined whether patients had the virus or the antibodies that showed they had survived COVID-19.
As the pandemic spiked in Florida, the region has become the epicenter for the virus in Florida.
Damiron connected with an old friend, Mayor Manny Cid, to offer SOMOS’ services.
“I’m from here,” Damiron said. “It was a no brainer to come down.”
Damiron and his wife, Desiree Damiron, an RN with SOMOS, both have ties to Miami Lakes and Hialeah.
“I want to thank Alex Damiron from SOMOS Community Care,” Cid said as testing began. “…the partnership with SOMOS will definitely assist with increasing testing in our town.”
Rolando Ros of Miami Lakes was among those on line the first day. A colleague had tested positive for the virus and while Ros felt achy, he didn’t have other symptoms.
He was relieved to find out nine days later he had tested negative.
“Overall, the doctors have passion for their work,” Ros said. -- Linda Trischitta and Megan Jacobo