3 Florida health department labs now testing for new virus, one located in Tampa

Florida

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP/WFLA) — Three Florida Department of Health labs are now able to test for the new coronavirus.

State officials said Saturday that will cut wait times significantly for results. State health officials say labs in Tampa, Jacksonville and Miami can conduct the tests. They previously had to be sent to federal labs. 

The upshot is the results should be available 24 to 48 hours instead of three to five days.

“That’s of course great! That’s super! Super because one thing is that it’s spreading, but you don’t know who is actually affected,” said Tom Aabo, who lives in Tampa.

Gov. Ron DeSantis says no cases have been reported in Florida.

Four people who may have been exposed in China and have exhibited possible symptoms are awaiting test results. Another 15 similar people tested negative. 

“Are you concerned it might get here to Tampa?” 8 On Your Side’s Marco Villarreal asked to a local resident.

“You got to be concerned. Yeah, I am, because what would we do? What would we do?” said Nat Williams of Tampa.

People right now are running to stores, buying up hand sanitizer and facial masks, causing some stores across Tampa Bay to run out of supplies temporarily.

“I’m not panicking. I’m just being aware. I’m trying to be aware as much as I possibly can,” Williams said.

In statements released to 8 On Your Side, the following stores had this to say about dwindling supplies:

We continue to monitor the development of the coronavirus situation globally, and are closely following official recommendations while working with our suppliers to understand and mitigate any supply chain disruptions.  Providing customers with the products they want and need remains our focus.

Walmart

“We have been seeing greater demand for certain products, such as face masks and hand sanitizers, in many of our stores. 
We’re continually and closely monitoring the situation, and continue to work with our supplier partners to best meet the needs of our customers.”

Walgreens

“We are working with our suppliers to meet customer demand for hand sanitizers and masks.  This demand may cause temporary shortages for these products at some store locations and we re-supply those stores as quickly as possible. We are not experiencing any significant shortage of disinfectant wipes and sprays at this time.”

CVS

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