MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Critical antibody testing is coming to a coronavirus screening site in South Florida.
Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Wednesday that a COVID-19 testing location at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens will soon screen patients for antibodies, which can reveal if a person has had the virus in the past without showing symptoms, and therefore may be immune to it.
"People that have had the disease, their body will generate antibodies to fight it," said DeSantis. "And then we can test to see whether you have the antibodies."
The governor said that once you acquire the antibodies, they remain in your body.
"We do believe, I think most people believe, that it will confer a certain level of immunity," said DeSantis. "It will tell people whether they've developed the antibodies within a 15-minute time frame."
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DeSantis said that starting this week, first responders and health care workers will be the first individuals to be tested for the antibodies, and the goal is to expand testing to the general public afterward.
The screening site at Hard Rock Stadium will administer 500 antibody tests a day and 3,500 a week to start, according to DeSantis.
The antibody testing will eventually be added to locations in Orange County and Jacksonville.
"We want to get a sense of how widespread the antibodies are in the state of Florida," DeSantis said. "We really believe that this will be a game changer."
The governor added that the percentage of positive coronavirus test results in Florida has plunged to a record low.
"The rate of new tests that came back positive, two days ago was 2.6 percent. That's as low as we're had really since the beginning of this," DeSantis said. "Yesterday was 3.8 percent. Again, very, very low. There's parts of this country that's still are in the 40 percent of everyone tested comes back positive."
According to the Florida Department of Health, there are 38,002 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, including 1,539 deaths.