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Florida will shift COVID-19 tests to faster labs, Ron DeSantis says

“Those who can produce are going to get more of the business,” the governor said.

TALLAHASSEE — State officials will stop sending COVID-19 tests to labs that are slow to turn around results, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday.

The Department of Emergency Management will instead start sending work to labs with a track record of faster turnaround times.

“Those who can produce are going to get more of the business, and I think that’s the best way to go about it,” he said.

DeSantis expressed frustration with many of the labs the state has contracted with to perform tests. He asked labs serving drive-through testing sites to produce results within 48 hours, a target that he said “many” of the labs aren’t meeting.  

Related: Ron DeSantis: Florida needs to turn around coronavirus tests faster

“You have somebody going through one of the (testing) sites, and then they get a result back 10 days later,” DeSantis said. “That is not really going to be very helpful.”

DeSantis did not identify which labs have been lagging on results.

Testing for COVID-19 — and getting quick results — is critical to combating the virus. But if a negative test result is given seven days after the test, it can actually be harmful, DeSantis said.

“You may have been infected in those seven days,” he said. “So in some ways, a negative can be a false sense of security,” he said.

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