CLEARWATER – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Florida will be receiving 400,000 rapid COVID-19 tests a week from the federal government and he’s earmarking those tests for vulnerable populations and students.
“We’re rolling out something new that’s going to make a difference in coronavirus response,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis said the U.S. bought out Abbott Lab’s inventory of 150 million rapid antigen tests and is distributing them to states based on need and population.
Florida will receive a total of 6.4 million tests over weekly distributions, he said.
DeSantis said the benefits of the tests are the 15 minute turnaround and they are a shallow nasal swab.
“You don’t need a lab to do this,” he said. “The swab that goes into both nostrils but doesn’t get up in your brain.”
The test results will show up within 15 minutes. “It’s almost like a pregnancy test in some respects,” DeSantis.
The test does need to be administered by a nurse, DeSantis said and the priority use for the tests will be senior community and long term care facilities.
“After the vulnerable population is schools,” he said.
DeSantis said too many students are being pulled out of school and isolated because they were in contact with a positive case.
“Kids with symptoms will be pulled out of class and isolated,” he said and then made to wait.
“If a student develops symptoms then they can be taken out of class and tested and if it’s negative you don’t have to isolate,” DeSantis said. “Kids get sick for a whole bunch of things other than coronavirus.”
DeSantis delivered the news from BayCare’s Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater.