ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – The Florida Department of Health in Orange County confirms wrong information was communicated on the Spanish language version of their COVID-19 hotline.
Orange County Commissioner Mayra Uribe told News 6 she was first alerted about the issue over the weekend, when some of her constitutents — who had inquired about being tested for the coronavirus — reached out to her by phone and on social media.
“They were telling us that when they called, it said that they had to have symptoms,” Uribe said.
The DOH had previously announced that residents no longer needed to display symptoms in order to be tested for the coronavirus.
With mobile testing beginning this week, Uribe said her constituents were confused about if they could get tested or not.
She said she brought her concerns to Dr. Raul Pino with the Department of Health in Orange County on Tuesday.
She said he told her, “They had not corrected the message in Spanish since the onset of (COVID-19). They use a third-party vendor, and the vendor had overlooked the fact that they had not updated the message,” she said.
Uribe said looking at the calendar, that could have been four weeks.
DOH spokesman Kent Donohue gave a different timeline.
“Initially, the message was recorded when we opened the call center and was continually updated depending on criteria,” he said.
When asked how long outdated information may have sat on the hotline, he said, “Not very long. When we became aware of the issue the message was updated.”
The discovery of the outdated information came as mobile testing was conducted in South Econ Park.
That location is near the “hot zone” ZIP code of 32822, an area where may Hispanic residents reside in Orange County.
Uribe said she was concerned the messaging would deter people from getting tested, but the DOH reported 200 people were tested on Tuesday, near the maximum they could test.
“You’re happy for progress, but you’re disappointed in what it’s taking to get here, and how many people we may have missed in the process,” Uribe said.
Testing continues on Wednesday at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, on Thursday in Barnett Park and on Friday in West Orange Park.
To make an appointment, call 407-723-5004.
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