Rapid COVID-19 testing slowly ramping up in Florida

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Rapid COVID-19 testing slowly ramping up in Florida

Comprehensive rapid COVID-19 testing has been the holy grail in tracking the disease and is a pivotal component in plans to get the grounded economy up-and-running. Yet, in Florida, as elsewhere across the country, testing for the disease is episodic and restricted. Eligibility for a test requires permission from a personal physician, hospital physician or the state’s Department of Health (DOH), which prioritizes tests for only the sickest, the most vulnerable and health-care workers. As of Wednesday afternoon, 144,570 Floridians had been tested for coronavirus with 15,455 results confirmed positive and 127,679 negative, according to DOH’s COVID-19 webpage , which reported 309 dead and 1,956 hospitalizations because of the disease. Several types of rapid tests are infiltrating into some Florida hospitals. A 45-minute test by California-based Cepheid has been circulating since the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved it in late March. Last week, the FDA approved a 5-15 minute test produced by Illinois-based Abbott Laboratories. Florida received 2,000 of the first 5,500 Abbott RealTime SARS-CoV-2 EUA tests shipped Monday and sent them to Jacksonville and south Florida hospitals. Abbott’s nasal swab test is a “game-changer” for nursing homes, hospitals and first responders potentially exposed to coronavirus, Gov. Ron DeSantis said. “When you have to wait 48, 72 hours for a test result, those are people that you’ve got to keep in the hospital most likely,” he said. The governor said he scored the “instant” tests after Saturday discussions with Abbott Laboratories Vice President Tom Evers and President Donald Trump. The company is producing 50,000 a day but will scale up production to ship 1 million tests a week by month’s end. Because Abbott’s diagnostic platform only runs one sample at a time, it may not increase the volume of testing statewide dramatically, but it could be critical […]

Original Post www.washingtonexaminer.com

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