A line of men and women snaked around the grounds of the Miami Lakes Youth Center on Monday morning, waiting to be tested for coronavirus or the antibodies that would show they have survived it.
The outdoor testing center is run by SOMOS Community Care, a non-profit network of health care professionals in New York City who primarily treat immigrant and low-income communities.
Alejandro Damiron, SOMOS’ chief of staff, said he connected with an old friend, Mayor Manny Cid, to offer the company’s services.
“A lot of people are pushing for testing,” Damiron said. I’m from here. 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.
He has been keeping up with the news about the COVID-19 outbreak in Miami-Dade County, the epicenter for the disease in Florida.
Also, he said he and Cid are former teammates on basketball pickup games and both attended St. Thomas University.
“I want to thank Alex Damiron from SOMOS Community Care,” Cid said. “…the partnership with SOMOS will definitely assist with increasing testing in our town.”
Rolando Ros of Miami Lakes was one of those waiting Monday in the heat and humidity. He held a form that would enable him to be tested.
“I work with someone who tested positive for the virus,” Ros said. “That’s why I’m getting tested.”
He said he had some muscle pain but didn’t really feel any other symptoms.
“I hope I don’t have it,” Ros said.
The process took about two hours, Ros said.
“The tests went well,” Ros said. “The staff was helpful and courteous.”
SOMOS accepts appointments for nasal swab and immunity tests at 1-833-766-6769 or online, at www.somosny.com.
The company has committed to be set up at the youth center, at 6075 Miami Lakes Dr., for two weeks.
About 80% of people arrived to the site without appointments, Damiron said.
Many were from out of town.
“We don’t turn anyone away,” Damiron said.
SOMOS expects to test 100 - 150 people per day, from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., and to provide results within seven days.
The patients are not charged; lab bills would be charged to their insurance, said Dr. Ramon Tallaj, chairman and founder of SOMOS Community Care.
Patients line up Monday at the Miami Lakes Youth Center, where the SOMOS Community Care COVID-19 testing site begins operations. Photo: Linda Trischitta, The Miami Laker.