Hurricane preparedness and COVID-19 testing

Published: Jul. 31, 2020 at 3:25 PM CDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) - State run COVID-19 testing sites along the east coast of Florida will be closed for the weekend and possibly through Tuesday depending on the track of Hurricane Isaias. Despite the closures, the Governor doesn’t believe it will make a significant dent in overall testing.

Safety protocols were tight here at the State EOC. Reporters were given a rapid test before entering. But for many Floridians, the hurricane will make it harder to get a test.

Question: “Is the plan still to close all the state testing sites in light of this hurricane?”

Governor Ron DeSantis: “Only the ones who are gonna be impacted by the storm. So the ones on the west coast of Florida are open.”

Among the areas impacted, Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach where the bulk of positive cases are found.

The Governor says private labs may decide to stay open through the storm. He says they account for the largest portion of tests.

“Our sites because they’re outdoors with tents, you know if it were to get 40 to 50 mile an hour winds it would just collapse and so safety is paramount for that,” Governor DeSantis said.

Only time will tell how big of an impact testing shutdown will make on daily case totals though.

“Because some of these tests that get reported, I mean we’ll get data dumps for positives that were three weeks ago,” Governor DeSantis said.

The track of the storm is still subject to change. The Governor says if it moves further off the coast, state test sites on the eastern peninsula could reopen early. The Governor says going forward he hopes to implement more rapid testing, especially in South Florida. He says that will make the daily case totals more reflective of what is happening in real time.

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