Gov. DeSantis addresses coronavirus test delays as Florida cases spike, says state will help counties

8 On Your Side

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Based on what 8 On Your Side has been hearing from many viewers, the number of COVID-19 cases could be even higher than reported in Florida.

Some viewers say they’re having a hard time getting tested.

“There’s four of us right now looking to try to get a test,” Pasco County resident Jeremiah Arroyo told us this week.

As Florida’s cases skyrocket, state-run test sites are hitting capacity. The lines were so long in Sarasota that drivers ran out of gas as they waited for hours.

Since March, 8 On Your Side has exposed various barriers to efficient testing.

Now that it’s almost July, it’s clear Florida still has a problem.

Gov. Ron DeSantis stopped by Tampa on Thursday. Investigative reporter Mahsa Saeidi was able to speak with the governor and ask him about your testing concerns face-to-face.

“Can you commit to providing more resources to the counties for testing?” asked investigator Mahsa Saeidi. “You have increased testing by 18% in the past two weeks but it’s not enough. Dozens and dozens of people are telling us they cannot get a test, they’re waiting days to get a test. So can you do more, and will you?”

“No, we’re going to do more,” Gov. DeSantis said. “So, I spoke with the head of BayCare, they’re going to do a site at Tropicana Field. We are expanding capacity at our existing sites, we will support the Pinellas County site and then, if they need to do more at Raymond James, we’re happy to do that.”

Full exchange between Mahsa and Gov. DeSantis:

No one will be happier than nurse Carrie Singh. She believes massive quick and easy testing is the key to stopping this virus.

“I think it’s pretty scary how hard it is to get tested,” said Singh.

The state has ramped up testing as cases have spiked. Gov. DeSantis said he’s committed to helping ramp up testing efforts even more.

“All these big counties – Hillsborough, Pinellas – they got huge dollars for the CARES Act,” he said.

The governor said counties also have the ability to ramp up testing.

In March, some state sites had little traffic but the demand for testing has increased with rising case numbers.

If you have a tip for investigator Mahsa Saeidi, send her an email at MSaeidi@WFLA.com

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