ORLANDO, Fla. (WFLA) – Gov. Ron DeSantis provided a few updates to Florida’s coronavirus prevention efforts on Friday during a press conference to announce an increase in funding to strengthen the state’s electric car infrastructure.
DeSantis announced hospitals across the state will be receiving additional Remdesivir shipments on Saturday. He said 427 additional cases will be coming, which equates to 17,080 vials of the antiviral medication.
“That will be something that hopefully will help to improve patient outcomes, particularly when the patient comes in early,” he said. “I think with all this stuff, it’s found that once a patient progresses if they’re at the stage of mechanical ventilation, our Remdesivir is probably not going to be able to do much at that time.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday his state would be sending Remdesivir to Florida. It’s not clear at this point if that’s the shipment Gov. DeSantis is referring to or if it’s in addition to the shipment DeSantis announced Friday.
In addition to the Remdesivir, Gov. DeSantis addressed long-term care facilities, which he referred to as “ground zero” in relation to COVID-19. DeSantis discussed more in detail how long-term care facility employees will need to be tested every two weeks.
There are over 4,000 facilities in the state and close to 200,000 staff members.
“We’ve now had about 70,000 test results back from the staff, we have 50,000 that are pending at the lab, and then we have many more that are being swabbed and sent in as we speak,” he said.
The positivity rate for long-term care staff after the 70,000 tests is 2.4 percent.
“That’s very very low generally but obviously when you look in the communities, we’re seeing positivity in places like Dade County 20 percent,” he said.
DeSantis said he hopes having the testing requirement in place should allow communities to catch the spread of coronavirus more quickly.
Additionally, the state will also be adding more beds to the COVID-only long-term care facilities.
The state reported the results for over 95,000 tests conducted on Friday. Of that, 11,433 came back positive, bringing the total number of cases to 244,151 across the state.
DeSantis noted the state is working to shorten the turnaround time to receive test results, especially as more people go out and get tested.
“Every lab that said they can get you (results) in 48 hours, it’s taking more than 96. If they say 72, it’s taking like a week,” he said. “Part of it is just they’re getting overwhelmed. They’re running lower on…some of the supplies.”
Following his announcement, DeSantis was asked by a reporter what he thought about Dr. Anthony Fauci saying Florida may have skipped some steps in opening too quickly.
“In terms of our reopenings, I sent mine to the (White House coronavirus) task force. I spoke specifically to Dr. Birx and if you look at, we did phase one at the beginning of May. Our best test results were May in the first two weeks to June. We were five percent or under the whole time,” DeSantis said. “This is a virus that has a five-day incubation period so it wouldn’t take six weeks before you started seeing something if that were the cause.”
DeSantis said Florida has seen a recent rise in cases just like the other Sun Belt states have.
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