Florida set to launch first mobile rapid-testing lab in the country

by | May 6, 2020

The state economy reopened this week with many restaurants and retailers reopening at 25% capacity. Governor Ron DeSantis reminded Floridans during his press conference Tuesday to focus on the facts and not on fear.

“The fact of the matter is that Florida has met all the gaining criteria to be in phase one. We are doing it very judiciously, putting the Southeast Florida counties on a little bit different timetable. Certainly on the west coast of Florida we have the ability to move into phase one and then hopefully continue down the line,” said DeSantis.

He also discussed the success of Florida’s testing program and how the state is increasing the number of testing sites. Over the past few days, the state has posted record numbers of new test results, while positive COVID-19 cases continue to drop. Monday’s data showed nearly 22,000 tests conducted, but only 542 positive cases, for a positive rate of just 2.5 percent.

“So far throughout the pandemic just our drive thru sites have done 109,000 tests, the ones that the state has supported. Beyond the drive thru sites we are beginning to pioneer walk up testing locations. This takes testing locations particularly in the underserved communities and gives folks the opportunity to come get tested,” said DeSantis. “Not everyone has a car, not everyone has the ability to get to some of these test sites. Just those 10 walk up sites, we have been doing these for probably about three weeks now and we have done over 10,000 tests.”

Private businesses such as Walgreens, CVS, and Walmart are also collaborating to create more testing sites across the state. DeSantis also announced a new rapid test lab would soon begin operating in the state.

“We’re going to have an RV outfitted with a lab inside and we are going to be doing 45-minute rapid tests. We will be able to take those to places such as long term care facilities and get results back immediately or close to immediately” said DeSantis, “The company that provides the rapid tests said that they’re not aware of anyone in the United States doing the mobile labs.”

The governor also talked about adding antibody testing at the Covid-19 testing site locations.

“The antibody tests whether your body has developed antibodies, which means that you have had the disease in the past,” said DeSantis. “The vast majority of cases appear to be either asymptomatic or the symptoms seem to be so minor that you wouldn’t even necessarily think to go get medical attention. The number of documented cases is one thing the number of people with the antibodies is far far an excess of the number of people who actually tested positive with a diagnostic test.”



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