TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — There’s new life for Florida’s expired COVID-19 tests. Federal regulators have approved a three-month extension for the tests that expired late December.
This means nearly 1 million test kits that were considered expired will now be made available to Floridians who’ve been struggling to find tests.
8 On Your Side learned last week that as many as 1 million test kits expired in a state-run warehouse. The Food and Drug Administration found that, despite that expiration date, the test kits are still salvageable and will be rolled out into communities.
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who is a Democratic candidate challenging Gov. Ron DeSantis, has criticized his administration. She posted on social media, “this won’t change the lines you waited in — or the information you couldn’t get over the holidays.” She also tweeted the letter from the FDA.
Abbott, the test kits manufacturer, was able to prove to the federal government that the tests would remain usable for at least 15 months if stored at room temperature.
Up until the omicron wave hit Florida in December, DeSantis said there wasn’t a need for the tests. Since then, Tampa Bay testing sites have been overwhelmed for weeks.
This is the second extension for these kits. The kits had already expired once before, in September, but the federal government approved an extension until late December. Now with this second approval, the tests will be ready for immediate use.
WFLA has reached out the Florida Department of Health to learn more.