JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In an effort to continue expanding COVID-19 testing in the state of Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis said during a news conference Saturday that he’s ordered the Department of Health to buy high-throughput machines.
“We have three state labs: Jacksonville, Tampa, Miami, and they do a good job but they’re only processing hundreds of samples a day as their maximum,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis said the labs in the State of Florida should be able to do about 10,000 samples a day. He said the machines should arrive in May, and he hopes to have the testing in place “by the summer.”
The governor said it’s been confirmed that the state will also have the antibody tests that were ordered. They’re scheduled to arrive next month.
Florida officials are inviting the public to weigh in on reopening the state amid the coronavirus outbreak, which has shuttered schools and businesses. In making the announcement, the governor’s office said “public feedback will be a critical component” in the work of the Re-Open Florida Task Force.
The panel is guiding DeSantis on his decision to lift an array of restrictions put in place to limit the spread of the virus. As of Saturday morning, the state reported more than 30,500 known infections and said nearly 1,050 Floridians have died from COVID-19.
DeSantis is still awaiting the task force’s recommendations, which could come sometime this weekend.