Florida ramps up testing ahead of anticipated COVID-19 peak

As Florida faces its anticipated peak, communities across the sunshine state are conducting as many COVID-19 tests as possible in order to get a better look at the spread of COVID-19.

Numbers from the Florida Department of Health show doctors have administered nearly 140,000 tests so far, and of those tested, 10% have been positive for the virus.

Governor Ron DeSantis said they’re working to get more rapid tests from Abbott Labs into hospitals so patients can have the results right away -- in about 5 minutes.

But DeSantis said not all hospitals have the machines to do those tests, so the state now has another option for people in certain areas.

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“We also now have at the Florida Department of Health a number of these Abbott Lab machines, and so those will be deployed, a combination of some of the higher outbreak areas like southeast Florida, and also used to do some spot checking at our most vulnerable populations, like our nursing home population,” DeSantis said.

A model performed at the health research center at the University of Washington shows Florida could see the peak of the virus in about two weeks.

The models are just projections and subject to change with things like 'stay at home' orders and social distancing guidelines.

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Nevertheless, hospitals are preparing for what could be a surge of patients.

The governor said 43% of hospital beds are available statewide, as of April 7, and 41% of beds are available in Hillsborough County.

Across the state, nearly 1,900 people have been hospitalized, so far.

If you feel sick:

The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to covid-19@flhealth.gov. Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

LINK: Florida's COVID-19 website

CORONAVIRUS IN FLORIDA: What you need to know

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