TAMPA, Fla. - One day after Florida hit a grim milestone, setting a record for the daily number of new COVID-19 cases, there were more lines at testing sites.
Test-result delays have been an ongoing issue and Governor Ron DeSantis said Monday people need to get their test results faster. When the contracts were set up with the commercial labs, DeSantis said, the goal was to have test results within 48-hours. He admits that hasn’t been the reality for weeks.
“They are backed up and so when people go through, a lot of times they’re not getting their results back for 7 days, obviously we want to improve that,” DeSantis said.
And the wait is sometimes even longer. There’s a concern that people who have COVID-19 but are asymptomatic could be infecting others while waiting to learn their diagnosis.
“You’re probably not gonna be isolating if you don’t have symptoms, you’re probably gonna wait for the result. So if the goal is to stop asymptomatic spread I think that delay really hurts it,” DeSantis said.
To care for those sick with the virus, the state is also sending in reinforcements—up to 3,000 contracted medical workers are being deployed across Florida to help in hospitals and long-term care facilities.
The governor says agreements were drawn up back in March with companies to provide additional staff if needed.
“We’ve put 100 on the way into the Tampa Bay area, we have a total of 1,000 that are gonna be parceled out with our initial mobilization but were also going ahead and mobilizing another 2,000,” DeSantis said.
Staffing is a top challenge at medical facilities where nurses and doctors are working long hours to care for the influx of people with COVID-19.
The governor says hospitals have the space and the beds to expand, but not necessarily the staff to take care of that increase in patients.
“Personnel is probably the number one thing that I have heard from our hospitals and our medical community, and so we’re delivering,” DeSantis explained.
The governor also encouraged people to listen to local guidelines and rules put in place like mandatory masks and staying at least six feet away from others.
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 email@example.com. Email responses will be sent during call center hours.
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