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DeSantis: Florida Does Not Use Lab That Produced 35,000 Unreliable Results

Gov. Ron DeSantis says Florida does not use the same lab that produced 35,000 unreliable COVID-19 test results.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Gov. Ron DeSantis says the state does not use the same lab that has produced 35,000 unreliable COVID-19 test results for AdventHealth.

Over the weekend, AdventHealth announced that the results of more than 35,000 COVID-19 tests performed by a third-party lab are unreliable. That includes 25,000 collected in Central Florida.

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Speaking in Orlando Monday, DeSantis said the state of Florida considered using the same lab – but never did.

“The samples have to be refrigerated, properly cared for,” DeSantis said. “This is not just like sending a piece of paper. So apparently what happened was they figured out this lab, I think it was in Texas, just let the samples be spoiled. So they had thousands of samples. That was not from any of Florida’s test sites.”

In a statement released Saturday, AdventHealth didn’t name the third-party lab and said it will contact patients to be retested. The tests were a mixture of positive and negative results.

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“That company was actually one that Florida looked to potentially do business with, we never sent them any tests,” DeSantis said. “But obviously after that we’re not gonna be doing business with them.”

The issue with AdventHealth’s third-party testing is not the only one in the state. Multiple officials across the state said there appeared to be a data dump of test results over the weekend.

Dr. Raul Pino, an epidemiologist with the Florida Department of Health in Orange County, said Orange County got 6,000 results back on Saturday.

“We have never tested 6,000 people in a day,” Pino said. “We have never tested 6,000 people in two days. We probably test 6,000 people a week in the county, about. So something happened there. And we’re concerned how much that is skewing our data.”

Separately, more than 500 positive results were confirmed over the weekend in Miami. DeSantis said more than 400 test results were backlogged cases going back three weeks.

Overall, more than 658,000 have been tested for COVID-19.

Copyright 2020 WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7

Health News Florida reporter Abe Aboraya works for WMFE in Orlando. He started writing for newspapers in high school. After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2007, he spent a year traveling and working as a freelance reporter for the Seattle Times and the Seattle Weekly, and working for local news websites in the San Francisco Bay area. Most recently Abe worked as a reporter for the Orlando Business Journal. He comes from a family of health care workers.