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DeSantis: State Orders Commercial Coronavirus Tests After Federal Tests Prove 'Problematic'

Andre Penner
AP via Miami Herald

In a press conference on Thursday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami will be among the first hospitals in the state to receive new commercial test kits for COVID-19.

"The turnaround time could be quicker [with these kits] and they would be able to make better use of their resources here at these healthcare facilities,” DeSantis said. Currently, samples need to be sent to state or federal labs.

The governor said he has directed the Emergency Operations Center to purchase 2,500 commercial kits, which should be received this weekend. Once operational, the kits will have the “capacity to process tests for up to 625,000 individuals,” said the governor.

This is only happening after kits sent by the federal government were missing essential pieces needed to perform testing.

"We had initially been thinking we were gonna be receiving tests from Health and Human Services. Obviously, that test proved problematic so they had to reissue those,” DeSantis said.

Even with the new kits, the ability to test for COVID-19 is limited by the availability of swab and sample collection materials. "There’s a nationwide shortage of that right now,” DeSantis said.

However, many labs around the state do have a supply of those swab and sample collection materials, he said. Once more of those materials are available for purchase, the state will be putting in an order.

"In the meantime though, these testing kits will help many hospitals and labs that do have the swabs on hand. I know that speaking with the leadership here [at Jackson Memorial Hospital] that is something that will make a difference."

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Daniel Rivero is part of WLRN's new investigative reporting team. Before joining WLRN, he was an investigative reporter and producer on the television series "The Naked Truth," and a digital reporter for Fusion. He can be reached at drivero@wlrnnews.org
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