Governor, mayor plan to expand number of daily tests at Lot J site

Site outside TIAA Bank Field will no longer be run federally after Friday

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday that additional testing equipment for COVID-19 is on the way to federal testing sites across Florida, including the one in Jacksonville that’s outside TIAA Bank Field in Lot J.

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The governor noted during his afternoon news conference that a contract with LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics, which were providing supplies to the federal sites in Jacksonville, Miami and Orlando, will run out on Friday. He said the state will keep the sites open, and that the state will be sending thousands of swabs to the testing drive-thrus.

“Because we’re no longer under the federal restrictions, we should be able to accommodate way more than 250 a day,” DeSantis said. “The site that the state of Florida has run with local governments or with local health care systems like the one we did in Broward County with Memorial (Hospital), we run through 1,700 people a day, and that is a good model.”

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said he plans for 400 tests a day at Lot J.

“In addition, results are starting to come back faster," Curry said. “If you test positive, you will be notified first and should have results within three to five days. Results for tagging negative tests may take an extra one to two days.”

DeSantis said the Florida Department of Emergency Management was sending out one of the biggest shipments of personal protective equipment in the department’s history, including millions of surgical masks, and thousands of hand sanitizers, gowns and gloves.

The governor said the state is continuing to distribute rapid test machines from Abbott Laboratories, and he said the state is working to identify hospitals that require them.

“We think it’s really important to have the access to a rapid test, particularly in a hospital situation,” DeSantis said. “It helps protect the workers, and it also will help identify who has COVID and who does not as people come in who may be symptomatic.”

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