Florida Currently Has Narrower COVID-19 Testing Guidelines Than CDC

Mar 7, 2020
Originally published on March 9, 2020 11:36 am

With nine Florida-related coronavirus cases at last report, concern is growing about the spread of the disease but testing isn’t widely available at this point.

So far, four cases have been confirmed, with five more people testing positive, including one person from out-of-state who is being detained.

Chad Neilson is the Director of Infection Prevention at UF Health Jacksonville. He told WJCT News for patients to qualify for testing, they must have a fever and be showing symptoms of a lower respiratory illness, like a cough or shortness of breath, and they must have traveled from China, South Korea, Iran, Italy or Japan within the past two weeks or have come in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient.

Related: More Local And State Coverage Of The Coronavirus 

"The last caveat, which I think is causing a lot of provider confusion is if you're a basically a hospitalized patient, ICU level, and we've rolled out everything else, you may be a person under investigation," said Neilson.

Anyone showing symptoms, but not meeting those 3 requirements, won’t be tested at this point.

The state's guidelines for who should get tested for the coronavirus are narrower than the CDC’s criteria. 

The CDC this week clarified that doctors could order tests for anyone they suspect of having coronavirus.

State officials have said they don’t currently have enough resources like test kits to provide the wider checkups.

However, that may change. Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday, "I know they [federal government] have tens of thousands that will eventually be en route. We don’t have them yet, we'd like to get them, obviously, as soon as possible," DeSantis told reporters.

Brendan Rivers can be reached at brivers@wjct.org, 904-358-6396 or on Twitter at @BrendanRivers.

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