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Florida’s governor says COVID-19 testing crunch will ‘be the reality’

Published: Jan. 3, 2022 at 12:11 PM EST
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Florida’s governor admitted Monday the state’s current “crunch” on COVID-19 testing — which has resulted in hours-long wait times at sites — will be the norm for the foreseeable future.

Speaking at Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, Gov. Ron DeSantis said the federal government has promised to send hundreds of millions of at-home coronavirus tests to Florida, but they have yet to arrive.

As a result, the governor said getting tested will continue to be a difficult process for residents.

"There is a crunch on this and that's just gonna be the reality until we get the federal government to start sending more down," DeSantis said.

The governor suggested the testing problems are to blame, in part, on Floridians who don't necessarily need to get screened for COVID-19.

"People will go to the drug store, they'll buy all these tests. They'll go multiple times a week and go to the sites and test without symptoms. That is just gonna contribute to some of the crunch that you're seeing," DeSantis said.

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gives COVID-19 update in Fort Lauderdale

Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo said he's developing a set of testing guidelines that are designed to prioritize "high value testing" and hopefully reduce lines at testing sites throughout the state.

"High value testing is testing that's likely to change outcomes," Ladapo said. "If your grandmother gets a test, that's a much more valuable test than the eight-year-old third graders that Los Angeles County is sending in to get weekly tests."

Ladapo said the Florida Department of Health's new COVID-19 testing guidelines will likely come out in the next few days.

DeSantis on Monday also announced that additional monoclonal antibody treatment sites will be opened in Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties after the federal government agreed to send between 30,000 and 40,000 additional doses of regeneron and Eli Lilly treatments to the Sunshine State.

"That is all contingent on the federal government sending the doses that we need," DeSantis said.

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