Gov. DeSantis: There needs to be a quicker turnaround time for COVID-19 test results

Florida governor says labs unable to keep up with number of samples coming in

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis holds a COVID-19 news conference Monday in Miami.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis holds a COVID-19 news conference Monday in Miami. (WSVN)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he’s aware of the frustration from those waiting to get their coronavirus test results.

The governor said during a news conference Monday in Miami that there’s a need for quicker results, as what would normally take a day for results has now turned into a week and sometimes longer.

DeSantis told reporters that although Florida is testing more people for COVID-19, the results of those tests are taking seven days or longer to come back, citing private and state labs’ inability to keep up with the number of samples coming in.

“We also understand there’s a need for faster results for people who are going through things like the drive-thru test sites. The fact of the matter is there is a lot of testing going on throughout the state of Florida. You have probably 700,000 plus tests a day that are being processed, mostly by commercial labs. They are backed up,” DeSantis said.

The governor said the labs are having a hard time processing the tests and sending out the results in a much faster manner because they don’t have enough employees to do the job.

While the governor acknowledged there needs to be a quicker turnaround time for results, Jacksonville has expanded COVID-19 testing by opening a test site at Ed Austin Regional Park in East Arlington on Monday and will also open two more sites -- one at the beaches and one in Mandarin -- later this week. Testing at these sites will be conducted in time slots and bases on people’s names and their vulnerability to the virus.

Three federally-run “surge” testing sites opened last week in the city. On Monday, the site at Regency Square Mall tested 1,582 people. The site at Frank H. Peterson Academies on the Westside tested 855 people. At the First Coast High School site on the Northside, 556 people were tested.

The sites at First Coast High School and Frank H. Peterson Academies will remain open until 6 p.m. Friday. Testing will continue at Regency as a state-run site.

An existing site at Lot J, where 410 people were tested Monday, is also set to close at the end of Wednesday. On Thursday, the resources that have been offered at Lot J will move to the old Sears building at Regency.

The expansion in testing comes after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services last week named Jacksonville as one of three new COVID-19 “hot spots” in the country.

The Florida Department of Health reported 12,624 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday -- down from Sunday’s record peak but the second-highest daily increase in the state.

The Department of Health reported a total of 282,435 cases statewide and 4,381 coronavirus-related deaths, including 84 in Duval County, since the pandemic began.

As of Monday, 530 people in Duval County, 49 people in Clay County, six people in Nassau County and 36 people in St. Johns County were hospitalized with COVID-19.

About the Author: