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Trust Index: It’s still not clear how many people have been tested for COVID-19 in Florida

News 6 has been asking this question for weeks

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – More than 482,000 coronavirus tests have been administered in Florida, but Gov. Ron DeSantis admits the number also reflects people who have received more than one test.

News 6 is running these numbers through our trust index to find out what percentage of our population has been tested.

We have been asking the governor and the Florida Department of Health that question for weeks, but despite repeated emails and phone calls we still do not have a clear answer.

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During every press conference, including Wednesday, Governor Ron DeSantis gives the number of Coronavirus tests statewide,

"We are close to inching up to 500,000 tests administered since this began," DeSantis said.

The state does not give the number of people who have been tested, and there is a difference.

You may recall this exchange I had with the governor a week-and-a-half ago.

"Are retests included in that number?" we asked

“Yeah so they are, its a good question,” Gov. DeSantis said.

Here's what a retest is.

If you have a test for COVID-19 and it’s positive, the Florida Department of Health recommends 14 days of isolation, after that, you should have another test.

Twenty-four hours later you should have another test to make sure you’re negative.

All of those test results go into the number on the state’s dashboard, even though it’s one person.

Potentially thousands of people, including healthcare workers receive multiple tests.

We asked the governor the same day if the state would update the dashboard to show the number of people tested minus re-tests.

“And actually you know what we can do, I’m going to see if they can parse it a little bit more,” the Governor said. “So I want just the fresh tests, I think that’s better.”

There was a change.

The state changed the title on the dashboard from "total tests" to "total people tested"

Unfortunately, that could be even more confusing, because the number still includes retests.

Last Sunday, we asked the governor again if the state could show the number of people tested and he referred us to the states roughly 600-page daily report.

"This chart right here is just phenomenal so they'll do number and percent of positives. These count the number of people whom the department has seen lab results by day. The percent is the number of people who test positive for the first time, divided by all the people tested that day, excluding people who have previously tested positive. So that's the number that you look at," he said.

After more than a week of multiple phone calls and emails, we asked the Florida Department of Health if they could give us the number of unique people who have been tested.

We are still waiting.

Either they don't know the number or they aren't releasing it.

We have been asking the governor and the Florida Department of Health the question for weeks, but despite repeated emails and phone calls we still do not have a clear answer.

Currently, the state is close to 500,000 tests, but we have no idea how many people, and what percentage of our population has been tested.


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