ORLANDO, Fla. – It’s been nearly two weeks since Florida embarked on phase one of reopening the state and an announcement from Gov. Ron DeSantis about when phase two will happen appears imminent but a look at the Florida Department of Health data shows the state is missing a critical metric before further restrictions are lifted.
One of the bench marks the state set for reopening is testing, specifically over a seven-day period averaging 30,000 tests per day.
News 6 crunched the numbers and found over the past seven days, the state had a high of about 22,000 tests on May 11 and a low of 11,000 tests on May 10, falling short of that goal.
Dr. Ali Mokdad with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington said there is another important factor to consider before moving forward. The IHME coronavirus models and projections have been used by the White House.
Mokdad said a key to the next phase of re-opening is also contact tracing, which is when health investigators reach out to all the contacts of a person who tests positive for the virus to alert them of their exposure and get them tested.
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“How many tracers do you have in Florida? How many people are you able to trace their contacts?” he said. “This is the key to reopening”
Florida has a robust contact tracing program, at the county and state level.
“More than 1,100 individuals, including students, epidemiologists and other staff from across the department, are currently involved in contact tracing every positive case of COVID-19 in Florida,” a spokesperson for the Florida Department of Health wrote in an email.
News 6 contacted the Florida Department of Health to see when the state will hit 30,000 tests per day, but did not hear back in time for this article.
CVS and Walgreens plan to start testing at select locations Friday, which could help the state boost testing access and numbers.