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Florida to expand drive-through coronavirus testing to more residents

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Posted at 2:59 PM, Apr 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-10 14:59:37-04

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Florida will soon test more people for the deadly coronavirus at drive-through screening sites across the state, including in South Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Friday.

Speaking at a testing location at TIAA Bank Field, the home of the Jacksonville Jaguars, the governor said Florida is expanding the criteria for those who can be tested for COVID-19.

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"What we're trying to do is get a sense of people that are asymptomatic, who may be carrying the virus and who may be spreading the virus," DeSantis said.

Starting on Monday, the following people can get tested for COVID-19 at drive-through locations in Jacksonville, Orange County, and Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens:

  • Anyone with coronavirus symptoms, regardless of their age
  • Health care workers
  • First responders
  • Anyone who's had close, sustained contact with an individual who's tested positive for COVID-19

"If you've had close, sustained contact with somebody, even if you haven't developed symptoms, if that person you've had close contacts with has tested positive for COVID-19 and you want to come get tested, then you're gonna be able to come to these sites," DeSantis said.

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The governor added that, until now, most of the testing in Florida has been focused on residents who are 65 and older with symptoms, along with health care workers and first responders.

"They obviously are most at risk from this virus, so it made sense to do that," DeSantis said. "We really want to expand that beyond. I think we have the capacity to do it."

It's unclear if testing will be expanded at other drive-through sites in Florida, including the FITTEAM Ballpark of The Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach and the South County Civic Center in Delray Beach.

RELATED: Gov. DeSantis issues 'safer-at-home' order directing residents to 'limit movements' to essential activities

According to the latest numbers from the Florida Department of Health, there are more than 17,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, along with 390 deaths.

Nearly 163,000 people have been tested for the virus in Florida, and more than 145,000 have tested negative.