No-cost COVID-19 testing through Curative continues with more than 500 tests available per day to the public at two locations in Monroe County. 

Between 125 and 150 tests are being performed daily at Founders Park in Islamorada, according to Curative’s Paul Cardwell. Testing is offered seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the park, located at MM 87. 

At Bernstein Park on Stock Island, around 80 tests are being performed daily. Tests are offered Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the park, located at 6751 Fifth St.

Cardwell said anybody can come by and get tested. People can book an appointment at one of the two locations by visiting Or, residents can walk up and fill out an application. 

The testing startup company based in California formed earlier in the year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that spread quickly throughout the U.S. Each state received federal funding to provide COVID-19 testing, and Curative was chosen by Florida as the contractor to provide the service. Thousands of tests have been performed by Curative in the Keys since late 2020. 

“There’s only a couple that were not eligible to take the test. Most of those people have been quarantining for some time and just had no potential for any exposure during that period in the last four days,” Cardwell said.

In early January, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an alert to patients and health care providers of the potential risk of false results, particularly false negatives, with the Curative test. According to the FDA, risks to a patient of a false negative result include delayed or lack of supportive treatment, lack of monitoring of infected individuals and their household or other close contacts for symptoms resulting in increased risk of spread of COVID-19 within the community.

No such reports of negative results have been seen at Curative sites in the Keys. 

“We just have not heard that here in this case,” he said.

 The Curative test is a RT-PCR (real-time reverse polymerase chain reaction) used to detect the virus that causes COVID-19. The test is performed by the patient, who is instructed to cough  three times, then swab the inside of the mouth for 20 seconds. The patient then seals the swab in a tube and deposits the tube’s packaging in a receptacle. 

Once a person finishes the test, it’s shipped overnight to a laboratory that runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Results usually come back in 24 to 48 hours. Cardwell said they experienced some issues around Christmas time. 

“We had tests going on at the Hard Rock Stadium. The number of the tests were going up from hundreds to the high thousands,” he said.

Cardwell said Curative is trying to obtain a contract to vaccinate individuals. That will depend on the availability of vaccine supplies, which continue to be limited.

“We just haven’t heard yet whether we’re going to be able to get these at these sites. I know there’s a pretty big waiting list,” he said. “I call in to the health department just about every day just to check. We probably have 800 to 1,000 people asking us. We definitely don’t know.”


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