TAMPA, Fla. - It is a new tool to protect the elderly. A mobile COVID-19 testing lab that will deploy to long-term care facilities. Onboard, testing for the virus will only take 45-minutes.
It’s the first of its kind, a laboratory on wheels with the capability to do rapid testing for COVID-19.
“Within 45 minutes you’re going to get the result, the diagnostic result,” said Governor Ron DeSantis.
He said the mobile unit will be focused on our most vulnerable, bringing testing directly to residents and patients at nursing homes.
Ninety-three percent of Florida’s COVID-19 deaths have been among people age 55 and older. With residents and staff of long-term care facilities making up nearly 38 percent, that is close to 600 of the state’s fatalities.
“We have the National Guard doing a lot of testing in the long-term care facilities, that’s very important, they’ve been able to identify some clusters, and keep it from spreading,” DeSantis said.
The problem is, getting those test results back can take a day or more.
With the mobile lab on-site, 500 samples can be processed each day.
“We really believe this will be a game-changer,” said DeSantis.
The governor explained the operation will be staffed by the National Guard and nurses, likely hitting multiple centers in one area to collect samples, then run them through the mobile lab.
“Real simple, nasal swab, put it in the little cartridge and it just like any cup of Keurig coffee, put it in the presser,” a staffer explained.
“And then be able to, if there is a case, isolate the worker, isolate the resident appropriately, and that I think is going to be really, really positive for what we’re doing,” DeSantis said.
The mobile testing unit is starting out in the Miami-Dade region. There's no word on when it will come to the Tampa Bay area.
Map of known COVID-19 cases:
MOBILE APP USERS: Click here for map