All state-supported COVID-19 testing sites are being shut down on Thursday because of a storm heading towards Florida.
Some 62 drive-through and walk-up sites are closing at 5 p.m. and will remain closed for an undetermined amount of time, the state Division of Emergency Management announced this week.
The reopening is expected to happen at or before 8 a.m. on August 5. County-run testing sites remain open for the time being.
“As the storm passes through regions of the state, sites will reopen on a rolling basis to ensure Floridians are able to receive reliable and accessible COVID-19 testing,” the agency said in a statement.
The storm, Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine, is forecast to begin impacting Florida in the coming days. It strengthened into a tropical cyclone on Thursday. It is now being called Tropical Storm Isaias.
A National Hurricane Center forecast projects the storm will travel northeast from its present position near the Dominican Republic and impact Florida.
In an advisory Thursday morning, the center said Isaias will produce heavy rains and potentially life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides across Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, northern Haiti, the Turks and Caicos, and the Bahamas.
Heavy rains linked to the storm may begin affecting south Florida Friday night or Saturday morning, potentially resulting in isolated flash and urban flooding.
The current projection has the storm impacting central Florida early Sunday. Depending on how it tracks, Isaias may impact the Carolinas and southern mid-Atlantic states early next week.
“Due to Isaias interacting with Hispaniola, the details of the track and intensity forecast remain uncertain and it is too soon to determine the magnitude and location of these potential impacts,” the forecast states.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, said in a statement that officials are closely monitoring the storm.
“Floridians should prepare now by having at least 7 days of disaster supplies,” he said.