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Health News Florida
News about coronavirus in Florida and around the world is constantly emerging. It's hard to stay on top of it all but Health News Florida can help. Our responsibility is to keep you informed, and to help discern what’s important for your family as you make what could be life-saving decisions.

Pharmacists Will Soon Be Able To Test Patients For COVID-19; Timeline To Open Up Economy Not Set

Healthcare workers conducts COVID-19 tests at a drive-thru coronavirus testing site, Tuesday, April 21, 2020, in Sanford, Fla.
Healthcare workers conducts COVID-19 tests at a drive-thru coronavirus testing site, Tuesday, April 21, 2020, in Sanford, Fla.
Healthcare workers conducts COVID-19 tests at a drive-thru coronavirus testing site, Tuesday, April 21, 2020, in Sanford, Fla.
Credit John Raoux / AP Photo
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Healthcare workers conducts COVID-19 tests at a drive-thru coronavirus testing site, Tuesday, April 21, 2020, in Sanford, Fla.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Friday that he would direct State Surgeon General Scott Rivkees to allow licensed pharmacists to order and administer COVID-19 tests. DeSantis is also considering whether Florida should enter a "Phase Two'" in its COVID-19 response.

Pharmacists To Test For COVID-19

DeSantis says ensuring easy access to testing is an integral part of the state's recovery process.

"Allowing licensed pharmacists to be able to do this expands our capacity, makes testing more accessible for people, and I think ultimately is the right thing to do," he said.

He explains that if people can get tested, they'll know whether they should self-isolate to avoid spreading the virus. The state is also looking into procedures that would allow patients to test themselves in their homes and then ship the samples to a lab. DeSantis says that option could reduce the use of personal protective equipment.

Reopen Timeline Not Hashed Out

Florida's stay-at-home order is set to expire April 30, but the governor  hasn't said yet whether he'd extend it. DeSantis told reporters Friday he'd look into the issue carefully and move into "phase two" of the state's coronavirus response in a "thoughtful way."

"It does not need to be any specific date because I think that if you do it right then, we'll continue to be able to build off this and be able to get to a place where people can get back on their feet, and part of that is you just want to do what makes sense," he said.

Phase Two will focus on reopening businesses and parts of the economy.

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