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Gov. DeSantis Says Florida Needs Testing Supplies, Won't Close State's Daycare Centers

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Florida Governor's Office
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Governor Ron DeSantis said Wednesday that supply delays are slowing the state's ability to ramp up testing for COVID-19.

DeSantis said that 2,500 test kits have been distributed throughout the state — that comes out to approximately 600,000 individual tests. Meanwhile, several mobile test centers are being readied.

But supplies related to administering the tests are still in short supply — things like swabs needed to take a sample.

DeSantis said the state put in an order for 500,000 swabs last week, but the order has not arrived yet.

"If we have enough swabs and we set up the drive-thru sites, you can swab people, some of the state labs and private labs here in Florida can do it, but then the rest can be sent to Quest and LabCorp,” he said. “So a huge supply of swabs will let us ramp up the number of people that can be tested very quickly."

DeSantis also said the state needs more protective equipment for health care workers, such as masks, gowns, and gloves.

State and local officials have told people to self-isolate, and K-12 schoolcampuses will remain closed through at least April 15. But on Wednesday, DeSantis also said he has no plans to close the state's daycare centers in response to the coronavirus.

“Parents are already under enough stress,” he said. "And I'm just very concerned about trying to make it more difficult for them. I don't think it’s as simple as just saying you close them and everything's going to work out great. I think that will cause huge issues throughout the state."

DeSantis added that public health professionals have not told him that daycare centers are an area of concern.

Several other states have closed day care facilities in response to the pandemic, including Rhode Island and Kentucky.

On Wednesday,  the governor of Massachusetts ordered most state licensed day care programs in the state to close by Monday. At-risk and low income children would be prioritized for care in the centers that do remain open.

Earlier in the week, the CEO of Tampa Bay YMCA announced a temporary closure and that 20 Y locations would transition to offering support for children of healthcare workers  and first responders.

Copyright 2020 WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7

Cathy Carter is the education reporter for WUSF 89.7 and StateImpact Florida.