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Governor: UF to lead research into whether asymptomatic individuals pose COVID-19 risk

Posted at 6:51 AM, Mar 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-24 09:24:54-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla – Fox 4 has been closely following the developments when it comes to testing for the coronavirus in Florida.

Monday, Governor DeSantis announced a new partnership with the University of Florida that will help gather game-changing data when it comes to stopping the spread.

DeSantis hopes the new research will help us understand how prevalent COVID-19 is among asymptomatic individuals.

Medical professionals from UF will operate a drive-thru testing site at The Villages in Central Florida. But DeSantis says it will be unlike other testing sites we've seen where your doctor must first screen you, decide you meet the necessary criteria, and order a test.

Instead, he said the plan is to broaden the population of people being tested. That will happen through a separate university-developed test for the virus, developed to gather first-of-its-kind data on how asymptomatic patients could be contributing to the spread.

"If you do not meet even broad screening criteria to have your sample clincally tested, you can still elect to have your sample tested by a separate UF-developed test for COVID," said DeSantis.

"That will go into research to be able to determine how prevalent COVID-19 is among asymptomatic individuals," he added. "That's going to be some of the most valuable information that we have."

Up until now, DeSantis mentioned that there's uncertainty and split opinions on whether or not asymptomatic individuals pose a risk. This will help us better understand and assess that situation.