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Florida Dept. of Health cuts ties with Quest Diagnostics after backlog of 75K coronavirus test results

State calls issue an 'unacceptable dump' of results
Posted at 2:09 PM, Sep 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-01 17:14:46-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida Department of Health said Tuesday they have cut ties with Quest Diagnostics after state officials said the company failed to report thousands of coronavirus test results promptly.

The state said that Quest failed to report nearly 75,000 results dating back to April, which has "little impact on the status of the pandemic today."

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Florida officials called it an "unacceptable dump of test results" but said it does not impact the health of individuals or the spread of COVID-19 in Florida.

"The law requires all COVID-19 results to be reported to DOH in a timely manner. To drop this much unusable and stale data is irresponsible. I believe that Quest has abdicated their ability to perform a testing function in Florida that the people can be confident in. As such I am directing all executive agencies to sever their COVID-19 testing relationships with Quest effective immediately," Gov. DeSantis said in a written statement.

The state said without the backlog of Quest results, the positivity rate for new coronvirus cases on Monday was 5.9 percent in Florida.

Below is a response from Quest regarding the delay in reporting:

Quest Diagnostics takes seriously our responsibility to report laboratory data to public health authorities in a timely manner to aid pandemic response. Due to a technical issue, our reporting of a subset of public health COVID-19 test data to the Florida Department of Health was delayed. This subset involves nearly 75,000 of the approximately 1.4 million COVID-19 tests we have performed and reported to the state.

We apologize for this matter and regret the challenge it poses for public health authorities in Florida. The issue has since been resolved. Importantly, the issue did not affect or delay reporting of test results to providers and patients.

Quest Diagnostics has provided more COVID-19 testing on behalf of the citizens of Florida than any other laboratory and we believe we are well positioned to continue to effectively aid patient care and public health response for the state. We remain open to working with the state Department of Health to provide testing that meets the needs required for patient care and public health response.