COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. — As the demand for COVID testing surges, urgent care centers in Southwest Florida are struggling to follow through with their promise.

About 50 people lined up outside MedExpress, on the corner of Collier Blvd and Pine Ridge Road, Friday morning before it opened its doors. It was a mix of COVID and non-COVID patients.

“They were down a nurse I think so they said they’re going to take our names and our numbers, send us home and then just called us to come back for our appointment,” said Kevin McCord. He said he waited for over one hour on the sidewalk.

Meanwhile, Jim Brown waited over two hours for a COVID test. “It’s frustrating,” he said, “You got to find the right place to go and then just make your mind up. You’re going to have to wait.”

Brown also sympathizes with non-COVID patients. One mom said she visited MedExpress Thursday morning around 8am and saw a nearly identical line. She said she was just trying to get her child a school physical and ended up waiting for 4 hours.

“Probably they’re going to have to wait the same amount of time as us or longer, who knows,” Brown said.

MedExpress said wait times are much longer than usual. But clinicians will always prioritize patients with more immediate needs on a case-by-case basis. “They’re trying to do the best they can but it’s frustrating,” he said.

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