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Gov. DeSantis stands by Florida’s coronavirus data after lab reporting issues

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — By now, you’ve probably heard about Florida’s inconsistency in lab reporting. Some labs throughout the state have only been reporting positive test results, not negative results. 8 On Your Side wanted to know who is responsible for checking the state’s data.

Labs must immediately report positive and negative COVID-19 test results, according to the Florida Department of Health. But as of Thursday morning, some appear to still not be doing it.

Since this has the potential to throw off Florida’s positivity rate, 8 On Your Side had questions for Gov. Ron DeSantis when he was in Tampa on Thursday.

“Governor, I get that there’s a lot of data,” said Investigative Reporter Mahsa Saeidi, “the Department of Health just realized that dozens of labs are not reporting negatives. One, specifically, who is in charge of checking the data? And two, if something so simple is overlooked, how can we trust the rest of the numbers?”

“So here’s the thing, when people are doing the tests, the labs report it into a system,” said Gov. DeSantis.

The governor says it’s the lab’s job to report all the data to the state. He also pointed out how negatives have been backlogged in the past.

“But it’s not the Department of Health, per se, it is the labs that are inputting this,” said Gov. DeSantis. “Obviously, I want every single thing reported perfectly by the labs.”

The labs may be the ones required to report the data, but 8 On Your Side pressed the governor to find out if anyone within the Florida Department of Health was checking the numbers.

All you have to do is look at the state’s daily report and you’ll see some labs listed their percent positive as 100%, meaning every single person they tested had coronavirus.

“So, everything that I’ve highlighted in yellow, these are labs that are reporting a hundred percent positivity,” said Investigative Reporter Mahsa Saeidi.

“I get what you’re saying but let’s just be clear,” said Gov. DeSantis. “You shouldn’t put an impression in the public that somehow, if people were tested positive – hospitalizations, fatality, that somehow that’s like wildly…what you’re talking about, is labs reporting positives and then not reporting all the negatives and the negatives are important, and that is something. But it’s not throwing off the general disease prevalence.”

Gov DeSantis was clear. While there may be some issues with the lab reporting numbers, he said it does not extend to data regarding hospitalizations or fatalities.

If you have a tip for Investigator Mahsa Saeidi, send an email to MSaeidi@WFLA.com

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