At Gov. Ron DeSantis’ direction, the state will take over coronavirus testing at multiple sites across the state, including at the Orange County Convention Center, the closest testing site to most of Osceola County.
This comes after a federal contract with the sites and labs processing the tests ends today (Friday), the reason why the DeSantis said the state would take over the testing.
The takeover includes an expansion of testing and the ability to do more than 250 daily tests. DeSantis said that since it is no longer under federal restrictions, the Orange County site should be able to start doing upwards of 750 tests per day.
The state is also expanding the criteria for those who can get tested. Starting Monday, anybody who has had close contact with an individual who has tested positive, whether they’ve exhibited symptoms yet (called “asymptomatic”) can get tested. Anyone exhibited the symptoms — fever, respiratory issues — can get tested regardless of age. First responders and health-care industry workers can also get tested as usual.
“I think it’s important that we have an expanded test criteria so a greater variety of people can come in,” DeSantis said during a Friday press conference in Jacksonville. “This continues our efforts to make testing more widespread in the state of Florida.”
The governor said it should be able to accommodate more. His goal is to see about 750-800 tests done per day.
Jared Moskowitz, state’s head of emergency management, said the effort to fight COVID-19 is the single-largest mobilization of emergency resources, bigger than any hurricane.
“We’re all in this together,” he said.