CLEARWATER, Fla. — Saying it will "make a real difference in terms of the coronavirus response," Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Tuesday that the state is receiving 6.4 million rapid COVID-19 antigen testing kits from the federal government.
Thousands of them will be sent to schools in Florida right off the bat, according to the governor.
"I think this is gonna be really, really significant," DeSantis said during a news conference at BayCare’s Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater.
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The rapid test from Abbott Laboratories comes in a box and uses a nasal swab to determine if someone is infected with COVID-19.
Calling it a "much more pleasant" experience, DeSantis said the swab doesn't feel like it "gets up in, like, your brain."
"You do not need a lab to do it," DeSantis said. "Most of the results, if it's positive, it usually pops pretty quickly."
The governor said the rapid tests will be sent to long-term care facilities, senior centers, retirement communities, and schools first.
"If you have somebody, a kid, a student that has symptoms, obviously they're going to be pulled out of class," DeSantis said. "They can be given this test, and then we'll know within 15 minutes whether it's COVID or not."
DeSantis added the state will receive around 400,000 testing kits every week.
"If each school district had a few thousand of these, that's probably gonna be enough to be able to last them for a long time," DeSantis said.
SPECIAL COVERAGE: Coronavirus
According to the latest numbers from the Florida Department of Health, there are 704,568 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 14,143 coronavirus-related deaths in the state.