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Florida needs more pediatric COVID-19 testing, state Surgeon General says

File photo (Emily Elconin/Bloomberg/Getty Images)
File photo (Emily Elconin/Bloomberg/Getty Images) (© 2020 Bloomberg Finance LP)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida needs more hospital-level testing for COVID-19, including more pediatric testing capability as the state continues to reopen, Surgeon General Scott Rivkees told hospital officials Monday.

“At this point, we are now several months into this, each hospital should really have the capability to have in-house testing ability for COVID-19,” Rivkees, the secretary of the Florida Department of Health, said on a statewide conference call with hospitals.

More testing at the hospital level is necessary, he said, as many surgeries and medical procedures are again being offered after being shut down earlier in the pandemic.

It also is necessary, given the state’s mandate that hospitals test long-term care residents before returning them to nursing facilities. During a weekly call with hospitals, Rivkees also made a pitch that they have plans for pediatric COVID-19 testing capability.

“This will become especially important as children start potentially going back to school and other types of activities,” Rivkees said. “We need to make sure that we have as much testing available for pediatric patients as we have for adult patients.”