Governor says more supplies needed to ramp up Coronavirus testing

Posted at 8:57 AM, Mar 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-19 15:57:51-04

FORT MYERS, Fla -- When it comes to containing the spread of the Coronavirus, Governor Ron DeSantis said in a news conference Wednesday that there's a medical supply issue holding Florida back.

The governor said he's pushing President Trump and the federal government for a few specific things. That way Florida is able to do more testing at drive-thru collection sites, like the one located at Lee Convenient Care’s Page Field office.

The problem is, over the last few weeks we've been experiencing what DeSantis called the biggest rush to get medical supplies in our nation's history.

“The biggest supply issue that we're seeing, there's two. Specific to testing is the swabs to take the sample. We put in an order a week ago for half a million swabs, we have not got that fulfilled yet,” he said.

“That and the PPE for the healthcare workers. When you're doing this testing you have to be in special equipment, PPE, so you don't catch the virus. Some of this stuff is not re-useable, got to use a new one every time so that's in short supply,” he added.

More reagents are another thing he mentioned. And he's calling on President Trump to help fill these needs, saying more testing is the way to stop the spread of the virus quickly.

“My number one priority is to get all the materials we need to do as much testing as possible. If I had unlimited resources would have our health department work with our hospitals, work with our research institutions to do what they call surveillance, but basically like sentinel screening where you’re trying to get information with people’s consent about how this might be under the surface in the community. That's the number one question, how many are carrying it that are asymptomatic,” he said.

That's a big question following a Broward County assisted living facility case where the patient died this week. There are fears that the virus was possibly transmitted by someone who was asymptomatic working on the staff.

The governor also added that most hospitals in our state are postponing elective surgeries to help conserve supplies like PPE for coronavirus testing.