TAMPA, Fla. - Governor DeSantis announced major expansions to statewide testing at a news conference on Saturday. The plan is to open up federal testing sites to anyone experiencing symptoms, as well as, expand spot testing by enlisting members of the Florida National Guard to test in Florida nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
The latest numbers show 173,000 people, or 1 out of every 125 Floridians, have received COVID-19 test results.
Governor DeSantis expects the number to grow within the next few days to more than 200,000 people.
"That is a pretty good ratio. South Korea was viewed as leading the way on testing and they had reached one out of every 200 individuals so we're going to continue those efforts," DeSantis said.
One of the state's newest efforts is major expansions to testing. Currently, three federal testing sites are operating in the state. The three sites are in Orlando, Jacksonville, and Miami. Instead of focusing testing on only first responders and people over 65, the sites will now be open to anyone experiencing symptoms regardless of age.
"Even if you're not experiencing symptoms, but you have had close sustained contact with someone who has recently tested positive, you can then come through and get tested as well," DeSantis said.
Asymptomatic carriers or people who have the virus but show no symptoms are still a major concern. It's part of the reason Governor DeSantis is now enlisting members of the Florida National Guard to do spot testing at Florida nursing homes.
"The Guard has tested a number of folks down in South Florida affiliated with nursing homes. Our partnership with UF Shands involves some spot testing. We going to continue to do that given that's the most high-risk population," DeSantis said.
More than 700 of Florida's 18,000 cases are tied to long-term care facilities, which is a major increase from the 258 cases reported Sunday.
"It's been tough for people and I really appreciate all people who have pitched in and who have done their part and I think it's really making a difference," DeSantis said.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Email responses will be sent during call center hours.
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