Trust Index: Just how many people has Florida tested for COVID-19?

Florida Department of Health includes coronavirus re-tests in statewide testing totals

Florida Department of Health includes coronavirus re-tests in statewide testing totals

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Each day, when the Florida Department of Health releases the latest number of reported COVID-19 cases in the state, it also includes that most recent COVID-19 testing data.

On Tuesday, the state’s COVID-19 dashboard reported there have been nearly 2 million “total people tested.”

But that doesn’t mean that nearly 2 million unique individuals have taken a COVID-19 test in Florida. The state has acknowledged that retests are counted in the total test count.

If a patient tests positive for COVID-19 the Florida Department of Health recommends the patient goes into a two-week isolation period. Once the 14 days are up, the patient is likely to take a COVID-19 test. A day later the patient may take another test for the virus to make sure they are negative.

One person could potentially take three tests in less than three weeks. Some, where there was a second positive test, may take even more before they are deemed clear to go back to work.

News4Jax sister station WKMG in Orlando spoke with Dr. Raul Pino with the Department of Health in Orange County who confirmed re-tests are included in the total testing numbers, so when you see 2 million tests, that does not mean 2 million people have been tested.

Gov. Ron DeSantis also said during a press conference that the total number of tests is reflected in the dashboard display.

“It’s not unique individuals, it’s total test,” he said.

State officials have said in recent weeks that increased testing has been at least part of the reason for a string of record-one day cases.

So how many people have been tested so far? That’s still not clear.

News4Jax emailed the Florida Department of Health asking the total number of people tested and the number of retest the state has done, but so far they have not sent us an answer.

So the Trust Index team says to be careful when looking at these stats.

Be Careful

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About the Authors:

Digital reporter who has lived in Jacksonville for more than 25 years and focuses on important local issues like education and the environment.

Tarik anchors the 4, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. weekday newscasts and reports with the I-TEAM.