Florida will be able to increase by 18,000 a day the number of COVID-19 tests that can be processed, after the state signed contracts with two additional testing companies, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday.
DeSantis told reporters in Tallahassee that he anticipates the companies will be able to provide results within a two-day period. The DeSantis administration did not immediately provide the names of the companies.
“These tests at these labs will primarily be where we send our samples that we collect in the long-term care and assisted living facilities and at the community-based walk-up sites,” DeSantis said.
Florida has in recent weeks has taken steps to bolster testing. To increase testing in traditionally medically underserved communities, the DeSantis administration created walk-up sites in Broward and Duval counties.
DeSantis also announced last week that he was directing the Florida National Guard to lead efforts to test staff members and residents at long-term care facilities to try to stem the spread of the virus. DeSantis said that in the last week the number of teams increased from 10 to 50.
The state had 28,576 cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday evening, and 927 Florida residents had died, according to the state Department of Health. More than 26 percent of the deaths involved residents or staff members of long-term care facilities.
In all, 2,333 COVID-19 cases involved long-term care facilities, and more than 10 percent of those cases --- 248 ---- resulted in deaths.