TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Calling some COVID-19 test results "useless" because they're taking too long to come back, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says the state is aiming to speed the process up.
Speaking at Broward Health in Fort Lauderdale, the governor said the state is converting COVID-19 testing sites at Marlins Park and Hard Rock Stadium in Miami-Dade County into 15-minute rapid testing locations.
Starting on Tuesday, only people who have symptoms of COVID-19 or people who are 65 and older can get the rapid tests at both locations.
There will still be one dedicated lane for people who don't have COVID-19 symptoms. However, those will not be rapid tests.
"For those folks who are older or symptomatic or both, you're gonna be able to go in, get the test, and in 15 minutes walk out with a result," DeSantis said. "That's not only good for the test taker, it's also good for officials monitoring the trends."
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The governor said some COVID-19 test results are taking 10 to 14 days to come back, and that's impacting the accuracy of Florida's coronavirus reporting.
"If you're looking at things like the positivity rate or some of these other things, a lot of times that data can be stale," DeSantis said.
According to DeSantis, Florida is testing around 100,000 people per day, which has led to longer turnaround times for the test results.
"Obviously, if you're somebody who is symptomatic and you don't get your results back for seven days, that is not helpful," DeSantis said. "For our asymptomatic test takers, if it takes seven days, then the test is basically useless at that time."
SPECIAL COVERAGE: Coronavirus
According to the latest numbers from the Florida Department of Health, there are 491,884 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, including 7,157 deaths.
On Monday, Florida logged 4,752 new COVID-19 cases, the lowest single-day increase in cases since June 23.
While that number is optimistic, it should be noted that many testing sites across the state were closed for several days last week and over the weekend because of the threat of Hurricane Isaias.