Rapid COVID-19 tests coming to Jacksonville, governor says

The new tests give results in about 45 minutes, and faster tests could be on the way

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Last week, the FDA authorized a rapid test from molecular diagnostics company Cepheid, which provides results in about 45 minutes. Most laboratory tests for the coronavirus take anywhere from a few hours to days to receive results.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Saturday that Florida was able to obtain over 2,000 of the rapid tests and there are plans to send them to Jacksonville and hard-hit areas in South Florida.

“I think this is really really significant because the problem with the testing we have now is these private labs are overrun. Ideally, they would want to turn it around in 24 to 48 hours but in fact, a lot of people have to wait three, four or five days to be able to get test results,” he said. “I think it also gives a lot of people peace of mind because they at least know what the result is.”

DeSantis also announced that he spoke with Abbott Laboratories in an attempt to secure more rapid COVID-19 tests which can process results even faster, in 5-15 minutes.

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The test’s maker, Abbott Laboratories, said it expects to deliver 50,000 tests per day across the country beginning next week.

Many have contacted the News4Jax newsroom, saying they’re concerned because they’ve waited days and still haven’t gotten their results after getting tested in Jacksonville. Cheryl Corbesero said she’s been waiting about a week.

“It’s like we never even went,” she said. “I don’t want to infect anyone, nor do I want to be susceptible to anybody that’s out there.”

So far, DeSantis said about 40,000 people in the state have been tested for novel coronavirus with the positive test rates around 8-10%.

DeSantis said he spoke to President Donald Trump about the rapid tests on Saturday.

“We’re not asking you to buy it for us,” DeSantis said he told President Trump “But, you know, can you just let [Abbott Laboratories] know that sending some to Florida would really make an impact in our fight against COVID-19, and he was, you know, he was very supportive. He’s supportive of everything we’re doing so my hope is that Florida can be in that initial mix as they start sending these tests throughout the country.”

MORE | Who can get tested at the Lot J & Prime Osborn testing sites?

Testing in Lot J next to TIAA Bank Field is open to people of all ages who have respiratory symptoms of coronavirus, as well as health care workers and first responders who have had direct contact with confirmed cases. Beginning on Saturday, patients are no longer required to have an on-site temperature of 99.6 degrees or higher. This comes after the recent decision to lift the requirement that people be of age 65 or older to get tested. It’s not necessary to have a doctor’s note or appointment.

A city-run testing site near the Prime Osborn Convention Center is open to Jacksonville residents only.

In order to get tested, patients must first undergo screening and obtain an appointment through Telescope Health, as doctor’s notes obtained from other health care providers are not accepted.

The spread of coronavirus in Florida continued on Saturday, with over 100 confirmed cases in Duval County, according to the afternoon numbers released by the Florida Department of Health.

The total confirmed number of cases of coronavirus in Florida reached 3,763 as of noontime, a sharp increase from the 3,198 confirmed cases that were reported Friday evening. A total of 3,608 confirmed cases were reported in Florida residents.

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