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Hundreds wait to get tested at Jacksonville COVID-19 site as numbers rise across the state

According to state officials, more than 300 people lined up to get tested at Regency Square Mall Sunday morning.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Nearly 100,000 Floridians were tested for COVID-19 on Saturday alone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended last week that all Americans stay at home, and to get tested if you'll see family and friends for the holidays.

This weekend, Florida's Health Department reported the state has surpassed 18,000 total deaths since the pandemic started. Florida is also nearing one million total cases, with 6,400 new cases added Sunday. The new cases added Sunday was the smallest one-day total in a week.

According to state officials, more than 300 people waited in line around 10 a.m. Sunday to get tested at Regency Square Mall, one of Florida's Division of Emergency Management's testing sites in Jacksonville. By 2 p.m. there were around 225 people in line, according to officials. 

Regency is one of at least 50 testing sites in Jacksonville alone. Regency and the Legends Center, both state-run sites, are free, have rapid tests available and you can get your results within an hour. Both sites offer appointments as well. You don't have to have symptoms to get tested, and children and adults can be tested. 

State officials spoke Sunday about testing sites across Florida, giving advice if people plan to get tested before Thanksgiving. 

"It comes back to a little bit of planning," Mike Jachles, Chair of the Association of Florida Public Information Officers said. 

"Check with your airline or whoever you’re traveling with and see what test they need, and then you have to make the decision about where is the best place to go if you’re traveling. Again that’s an individual decision," Jachles said.

Most sites are closed on Thanksgiving. Regency opens at 9 a.m. Monday.

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