2 private companies start testing for coronavirus in Florida

8 On Your Side

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – As more people get tested for the coronavirus, the number of cases is rapidly growing across the country.

As of Monday, there are a dozen cases in the Sunshine State from the Panhandle to South Florida. 8 On Your Side Investigates is looking into the number and availability of test kits across the state.

Right now, 115 Floridians are waiting to get the result of their COVID-19 test. According to the latest information on the Department of Health’s website, 302 people are being monitored under some sort of supervision.

Gov. Ron DeSantis was asked Friday about the number of test kits Florida was requesting from the feds.

“I would direct you to the Department of Health and Surgeon General Rivkeeson on that,” the governor said.

8 On Your Side reached out to the Department of Health for answers. The local DOH divisions tell us they can’t speak without approval from the central office.

We asked the central office to break down the number of test kits available – and to explain how the tests are administered and distributed. The DOH did not respond as of Monday evening.

In the meantime, state officials say private testing will be available from two companies: LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics. They also say testing capability is currently being met in Florida.

LabCorp states they’re able to perform several thousand tests per day across the country and they’re rapidly adding new equipment and staff.

How does it work?

A doctor or health care provider must order the test, collect the specimen and send it to the company for testing. Patients will not go to a LabCorp location to have a sample collected. You can expect a result in three to four days.

Gov. DeSantis said Monday evening that Quest Diagnostics is now up and running too.

Here’s the full statement from LabCorp:

“LabCorp made its COVID-19 test available last week, on Thursday, March 5, for ordering by physicians or other authorized healthcare providers anywhere in the U.S. and began receiving specimens in the lab on Friday, with more coming throughout the weekend. Those specimens have been tested and the results have been reported to the ordering clinicians and public health authorities as may be required. LabCorp is now able to perform several thousand tests per day and is rapidly adding new equipment and staff to create additional capacity. We continue reviewing all opportunities to expand testing at LabCorp lab facilities across the country.

LabCorp’s test detects the presence of the underlying virus that causes COVID-19 and is for use with patients who meet current guidance for testing. At this time, the test can be ordered anywhere in the U.S. by physicians or other healthcare providers. Patients for whom testing has been ordered should not be sent to a LabCorp location to have a specimen collected. The specimen should be collected by the ordering clinician and then be sent to LabCorp using standard procedures. The turnaround time to provide test results is typically three to four days from the pickup of the specimen to release of the test result.

LabCorp continues to perform its 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) test and to increase test capacity for patients who should be tested. We are working closely with the CDC, FDA and others on a swift response to address this public health crisis. Our team is proud to play an important role as part of an industry consortium that is working every day to meet the growing demand for national testing. Our utmost concern is for the safety of the public, patients, healthcare service providers, and our employees.”

8 On Your Side also reached out to the company to ask about their process and availability. We will continue to follow the latest developments.


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