Florida orders thousands of coronavirus testing kits, more than any other state, governor says

Test to go to labs, hospitals that request kits

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday anyone in Florida who thinks they have coronavirus symptoms and wants to be tested should be able to after speaking with a doctor.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday anyone in Florida who thinks they have coronavirus symptoms and wants to be tested should be able to after speaking with a doctor.

Florida-related cases grew to 51 people as of Friday, including three deaths: two in-state and one Orange County, Florida resident who died in California. There are 45 people in the state with the virus, according to the Florida Department of Health.

DeSantis said Florida has received 1,000 of the 2,500 COVID-19 testing kits the state ordered. Each kit allows for 300 people to be tested, according to the governor.

[READ MORE: Florida senator wants drive-up coronavirus testing]

The governor said he was told by the testing kit manufacturing company Florida ordered more than any other state.

“Broward County will receive tests immediately due to their high caseload,” DeSantis said of the county’s 11 cases.

The tests will be then be sent to labs and hospitals that request kits. DeSantis said private labs around the state, including Quest and LabCorp, can’t take samples but are helping to test kits and churn out results.

A coronavirus test requires a patient to spit into a cup or a throat and nose swab, the governor said.

During a White House briefing Friday, federal health officials said the CEOS of Walmart, Walgreens and Target will make store parking lots available for drive-up coronavirus testing.

[RELATED: Walt Disney World theme parks to close through the end of March | How to get your coronavirus questions answered]

Anyone in Florida “experiencing symptoms, if they speak to a physician, and they think they should be tested” should be, DeSantis said.

Florida Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees is working to gather more data about people who aren’t exhibiting the more severe signs of the coronavirus.

“People who have a cough for a few days and are not evening thinking about getting tested,” the governor said.

Rivkees reminded people Friday, the virus is spread from person-to-person and the most common symptoms are fever, dry cough and then fatigue.

Everyone should practice social distancing and avoid large public gatherings, regardless of whether they have cases in their area or not, Rivkees said.

[SCHOOL IMPACTS: Central Florida students, school employees told to self-isolate after cruises, foreign travel]

Most of Florida’s cases have been traced to recent international travel including patients from New York, Egypt, Belgium, England and Ireland, Rivkees said.

The state has also ordered more kits to collect samples that can be sent to laboratories for results. This will allow the state to gather more samples, quickly, DeSantis said.

The governor said the cancellation of events, the closure of all major theme parks and venues will help slow the spread of COVID-19 but he does expect the number of cases to rise in the coming days.

Florida’s presidential primary is Tuesday. Some polling locations have been moved due to the coronavirus. The election will not be delayed or rescheduled, according to the governor.

“We’re definitely voting, they voted during the civil war,” DeSantis said. “We’re voting.”

To keep up with the latest news on the pandemic, subscribe to News 6′s coronavirus newsletter or go to ClickOrlando.com/coronavirus.