coronavirus testing

Six states led by a bipartisan group of governors are joining together in an effort to speed up coronavirus testing. As the nation's death count continues to rise above 150,000, the states said they will jointly purchase 3 million rapid antigen tests that can quickly detect the virus.

Two Miami Testing Sites To Offer 15-minute COVID Tests

Aug 4, 2020
Gov. Ron DeSantis
Governor's Press Office

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that starting Tuesday, state-run COVID-19 test sites at Marlins Park in Miami and Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens will offer 15-minute tests for people 65 and older as well as for people who have coronavirus symptoms.

Kathy Castor
Daylina Miller/WUSF News

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, has sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services asking the government to work with manufacturers to increase production of substances known as “reagents” needed to process coronavirus test results.

With Tropical Storm Isaias expected to lash Florida this weekend, the Division of Emergency Management said state-supported testing sites for COVID-19 will temporarily close at 5 p.m. Thursday.

An NPR investigation has found irregularities in the process by which the Trump administration awarded a multi-million dollar contract to a Pittsburgh company to collect key data about COVID-19 from the country's hospitals.

The contract is at the center of a controversy over the administration's decision to move that data reporting function from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — which has tracked infection information for a range of illnesses for years — to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Analysis: When Is a Coronavirus Test Not a Coronavirus Test?

Jul 29, 2020
npr

Desperate to continue the tradition of a family beach week, I hatched a plan that would allow some mask- and sanitizer-enhanced semblance of normality.

We hadn’t seen my two 20-something children in months. They’d spent the lockdown in Brooklyn; one of them most likely had the disease in late March, before testing was widely available. My mother had died of COVID-19 in May.

Florida nursing homes will receive rapid coronavirus testing machines from the federal government. The Department of Health and Human Services announced earlier this month it will send machines to every skilled nursing facility in the country.


States Search for Ways to Deal With COVID-19 Testing Backlogs

Jul 23, 2020
Unsplash

States frustrated by private laboratories’ increasingly long turnarounds for COVID-19 test results are scrambling to find ways to salvage their testing programs.

nursing home bed and resident's walker
iStock

Staff members at nursing facilities across the state that have agreed to care for long-term care residents with COVID-19 are beginning to test positive for the virus.

Anybody who has waited for hours in line for a coronavirus test, or who has had to wait a week or more for results, knows there has to be a better way. In fact, the next generation of tests will focus on speed.

But what should the Food and Drug Administration do with a rapid test that is comparatively cheap but much less accurate than the tests currently on the market? A test like that is ready to go up for FDA approval, and some scientists argue it could be valuable despite its shortcomings.

The state of Florida has tested more than 2.8 million people for COVID-19 so far. That number measures people, but it doesn't account for the frustration felt by many of those individuals. Whether it's finding a spot to get tested, waiting in line for hours, or waiting roughly a week to get testing results. 

senior citizen with hands folded
Unsplash

COVID-19 test kits sent to nursing homes and assisted living facilities are for employees, not residents, the state said Thursday.

A recent Florida Department of Health report shows many labs in the state reporting 100% positivity rates for COVID-19 tests, meaning that every test they report is positive for the virus or that they’re simply not reporting negative test results, but NCH Healthcare System and Lee Health officials say that’s not the case.

Public health experts generally agree that, in spite of improvements, the U.S. still falls short on the testing needed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

The official who oversees the country's testing efforts, however, maintains the U.S. is doing well on testing now and will soon be able to expand testing greatly using newer, point-of-care tests that deliver quick results.

WUFT

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration appears poised to address rising criticism over its handling of COVID-19 in group homes that take care of residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The deadly respiratory disease has shown itself to be efficient at moving rapidly through prisons, jails, nursing homes and assisted living facilities. But it also can be a problem for the places where people with disabilities live.

More people are being tested for coronavirus in Florida as cases spike across the state. This is causing a logjam, not only in getting tested, but also in receiving results.

Pinellas County will open a new drive-through COVID-19 testing site Wednesday at the Duke Energy for the Arts Mahaffey Theater in St Petersburg.

People do not need to have symptoms to get tested.

According to the Florida Department of Health's Monday report, almost half of the statewide deaths were in the Tampa Bay area.

Of the 22 deaths in the region, eight were in Hillsborough County and nine were in Manatee County; daily high numbers for each county since the pandemic began.

Florida surpassed the 200,000 mark of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday as Pinellas County reported 14 coronavirus-related deaths – the highest one-day amount for the county since the pandemic began.

Federal health officials are hoping to stretch the supplies used to test for the coronavirus by combining samples from a number of people and running a single test. Chinese health officials used that strategy to rapidly test large populations in Wuhan and Beijing.

The technique, called pooled testing, won't resolve the testing bottlenecks in the United States. But it could help.

Florida A&M Boosts Testing For Coronavirus

Jun 30, 2020
Leon.FloridaHealth.gov

Florida A&M University has gotten approval to ramp up testing at its COVID-19 testing site. This comes after several consecutive days of reaching maximum capacity.

Florida hit a new record for coronavirus cases Friday. Officials announced more than 9,000 new confirmed cases in the state. But experts say that number is likely on the low side, in part because not all positive test results are listed in the Department of Health’s total for each day.

As coronavirus cases in Florida have surged, so has the demand for testing and Tampa Bay area health officials are struggling to keep up.


The coronavirus keeps spreading around the United States. New hot spots are emerging and heating up by the day. The death toll keeps mounting. So how can the U.S. beat back the relentless onslaught of this deadly virus?

Public health experts agree on one powerful weapon that's gotten a lot of attention but apparently still needs a lot more: testing.

A new analysis that researchers at Harvard conducted for NPR finds that more states have begun to do enough testing to keep their outbreaks from getting worse, but most are still falling short.

The state Department of Health will take over operations of Hillsborough County's COVID-19 testing site at Raymond James Stadium, beginning next week.

The state will also help Baycare open a testing site at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.

The Trump administration is defending plans to close 13 federally run coronavirus testing sites in five states at the end of the month.

The testing sites are located in Colorado, Pennsylvania, Illinois, New Jersey and Texas. They are the last of 41 federally operated testing sites.

Federal officials say the sites have been closing or transferring to state or local control because it's more efficient to run testing that way. In other instances they argue there are readily available testing sites nearby.

Cars full of people waiting for a coronavirus test at the Patients First on Mahan Drive in Tallahassee stretched more than half-a-mile Monday, wrapping around the corner onto Magnolia Drive. One person waiting for a test reports staying in line for almost nine hours, despite arriving before the test site had officially opened. Some waiting vehicles ran out of fuel. Other drivers left their cars to pick up food from a nearby restaurant or even find spots for semi-hidden bathroom breaks.

In the wake of the massive turnout at anti-racism demonstrations around the country, public health officials are encouraging protesters to get tested for the coronavirus. As purely precautionary testing has become more common, some insurance companies are arguing they can't just pay for everyone who's concerned about their risk to get tested.

The wait time for antibody tests at Orange County Convention Center is running about 45 minutes.
Google Maps

ORLANDO - It’s no longer just first responders who can get antibody testing at the Orange County Convention Center. 

All laboratories will now be required to include detailed demographic data when they report the results of coronavirus tests to the federal government, including the age, sex, race and ethnicity of the person tested, the Trump administration announced Thursday.

The new requirement, which will go into effect Aug. 1, is designed to help provide long-sought, crucial information needed to monitor and fight the pandemic nationally.

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