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DeSantis: Symptomatic lanes coming to some state testing sites

Posted at 5:52 AM, Jul 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-16 05:52:20-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla -- Many are experiencing significant wait times for results when it comes to testing for the Coronavirus.

This is particularly concerning because it means days, and some times weeks, before an infectious person knows to isolate.

It's an issue Governor Ron DeSantis addressed during his latest news conference Wednesday.

Starting Friday, DeSantis said the state will be debuting symptomatic lanes at a number of testing sites to help turn results around quicker. The goal is to get people who test positive isolated faster.

DeSantis addressed issues with turnaround time from private labs, which provide the majority of test results for the state. He said those that have been taking too long to get people results won’t be getting the state's business anymore.

The announcement comes as demand for COVID-19 testing is hitting record highs across the nation.

In Florida, the Department of Health reported more than 80,000 test results sent to patients just Wednesday, but the backlog is getting bigger.

“Today is day 13, tomorrow will be the 14th day if you don’t count the day she got the test done,” said Megan Powell. Her daughter was tested July 2.

“One of the most important things with testing is getting to know really quickly whether you’ve actually been exposed and whether you’re infectious or not, and then allowing us or even you to identify the people you’ve been in contact with,” said USF Distinguished Professor Thomas Unnasch.

Labcorp is reporting an average wait of four to six days after the lab receives the collection kit from the testing site. Quest Diagnostics is reporting an average wait of seven or more days.

The Florida Department of Health also said some smaller private labs have not been reporting negative test result data to the state, only the positive test results.

The department said it's working with those labs to correct the issue.