More than 1,700 coronavirus tests administered in Florida 'damaged in transit'

About 60 damaged tests from Palm Beach County
Drive-thru coronavirus testing at Hard Rock Stadium, April 26, 2020
Posted at 10:13 AM, May 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-21 20:34:01-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — More than 1,700 coronavirus tests administered at drive-thru and walk-up testing sites in Florida were damaged in transit, including about 60 from Palm Beach County, officials told WPTV NewsChannel 5 on Thursday.

The Florida Division of Emergency Management said in a statement Thursday that 1,702 tests were "damaged in transit" earlier this month.

"Any person whose sample was damaged will be contacted as soon as possible," the statement said. "These individuals will be prioritized for retesting at the site where they were originally tested."

Health workers wearing protective gear in front of mobile coronavirus testing lab
Health care workers wear personal protective equipment as they stand in front of a mobile testing lab during a news conference at a COVID-19 testing site at Hard Rock Stadium, during the new coronavirus pandemic, Wednesday, May 6, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla.

John Jamason, Palm Beach County's deputy director of public affairs, said about 30 of the damaged tests came from the FITTeam Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach and the South County Civic Center near Delray Beach.

"All of the people originally tested have been contacted and will be retested," Jamason said.

The Florida Division of Emergency Management has increased testing throughout the state this month, opening drive-thru sites in Broward, Brevard, Escambia, Lee, Miami-Dade, Sarasota and Volusia counties, as well as walk-up sites in Daytona Beach, Miramar, North Lauderdale, Opa-locka and Sarasota.

An email from the Florida Division of Emergency Management said the tests damaged in transit were from state-supported testing sites. Counties with state-supported testing sites include Broward, Collier, Duval, Escambia, Hillsborough, Lee, Leon, Manatee, Miami-Dade, Orange, Palm Beach, Sarasota and Santa Rosa.

State Rep. Emily Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, told Contact 5 that the mistakes were made at the testing sites.

"If medical providers aren't turning the lids properly or screwing it tight enough, it's apt to leak," Slosberg said. "You know, they've had issues with the vial in transit with whatever's happening on the roadways, somehow, like, flipping onto the side and leaking."

Slosberg said laboratories never tested the damaged vials and most people who were tested were told of the problem.

WFTX reported that 119 of the damaged tests came from the CenturyLink Sports Complex in Fort Myers.

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