Florida's COVID-19 testing to ramp up; antibody tests on their way, DeSantis says

FDA-approved tests for COVID-19 antibodies are expected to arrive in Florida on May 1, Governor Ron DeSantis said in a press conference in Orlando on Sunday.

"We’ve had the one that’s FDA-approved stuck in China for two weeks," said Governor DeSantis. "They’ve sent one shipment to New York and haven’t been able to get any more out of China."

The governor said antibody tests will be crucial for the safety of healthcare workers and ensuring the re-opening of Florida's economy. 

However, The World Health Organization said in a scientific briefing published on Friday, April 24, "There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection."

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Governor DeSantis said there's a high sense of urgency to receive those antibody tests and get them distributed.

"We’ll use them in nursing homes. We’ll help the hospitals with them. We’ll try to figure out different parts of Florida and how widespread are these antibodies," the governor said.

In addition to getting those antibody tests, DeSantis said that plans to ramp up COVID-19 testing for people who are showing symptoms of the virus or are concerned they were exposed. He said the state contracted two labs to handle a high volume of tests each day, and can deliver fast results.

"They will be able to process 18,000 samples a day, and we hope on a 24-hour turnaround but I tell people knowing this business, probably, but still, that’s a high volume and hopefully you get relatively quick results," DeSantis said.

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The governor also said he instructed the surgeon general to allow licensed pharmacists in Florida to order and administer COVID-19 tests, so getting tested will be more convenient.

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.

LINKFlorida's COVID-19 website

CORONAVIRUS IN FLORIDAWhat you need to know


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