600 tested in The Villages to see if they’re COVID-19 carriers. Here are the results

University of Florida conducts coronavirus study

THE VILLAGES, Fla. – A study that took place in The Villages aims to shed light on how often people can have no coronavirus-related symptoms and yet still test positive for and potentially spread the respiratory illness responsible for the current pandemic.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday that researchers with the University of Florida conducted the study, one of the first of its kind, of people who weren’t feeling ill. The ultimate goal was to determine how the virus is carried by those who aren’t experiencing a fever, shortness of breath or any of the other known symptoms.

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Of the 600 people who were tested in The Villages, none came back positive.

“Some people say, ‘This thing’s out there. Millions of people had it, don’t know it.' Maybe. But this may be a counterpoint to that because there were no asymptomatic carriers in The Villages,” DeSantis said.

The sidewalks and town squares in The Villages would normally be packed with people celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day, but that wasn’t the case Tuesday as concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic continue.

UF has also established drive-thru testing for residents in The Villages who are experiencing symptoms and meet certain other requirements.

Jeff Lowenkron, chief medical officer of The Villages Health, said in a news release that the access to testing is paramount for residents in the retirement community, many of whom are more at risk for developing severe symptoms because of their age.

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“Social distancing is critical to fighting this virus. The best way to guide this is having a better understanding of how pervasive COVID-19 is in the community. The only way to know that is more robust testing than we have been able to accomplish to date. We are glad to be engaged with this effort on behalf of our Villages Health patients along with our community as a whole. We know demand for testing will be much higher than we can deliver initially and we ask for patience as this ramps up,” Lowenkron said.

As of Sunday evening, there have been 38 reported cases in The Villages.

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