Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) said on Wednesday that state officials will stop sending COVID-19 tests to labs that are slow to turn around results.
“Those who can produce are going to get more of the business, and I think that’s the best way to go about it,” DeSantis said, according to the Miami Herald.
The governor announced that instead the Department of Emergency Management will start sending work to labs with a track record of faster turnaround time – a move raises questions about what impact having fewer testing labs would have for COVID-19 testing in the state overall.
DeSantis said he was frustrated with many of the labs the state has contracted with to perform tests. He asked labs serving drive-through testing sites to produce results within 48 hours, a target that he said “many” of the labs aren’t meeting.
“You have somebody going through one of the [testing] sites, and then they get a result back 10 days later,” DeSantis said. “That is not really going to be very helpful.”
On Wednesday, the Florida Department of Health reported a total of roughly 302,000 positive cases of the virus since the start of the pandemic with 4,626 deaths. Tuesday also broke a previous record for the state, becoming the deadliest date yet for the pandemic with 132 fatalities, according to state health department data.
DeSantis did not specify which labs have been lagging on results nor did he say which labs would be affected by the change.