Coronavirus: tests too slow and insufficient follow-up, Florida at bay

Cars line up at a Covid-19 test facility in Miami Beach, Florida on July 22, 2020.

Tests too slow, insufficient contact tracing: two of the main tools to fight the Covid-19 pandemic are lacking in Florida, one of the American states currently hardest hit by the virus.

In the state of Florida, which is among the current epicenters of the pandemic in the United States, along with Texas and California, one in 50 inhabitants has been infected with the new coronavirus. And more than 6,000 died from it.

However, the results of the screening tests take between five and ten days to be known.

Are the laboratories the cause ?

The Republican governor of Florida Ron DeSantis pointed out two weeks ago the responsibility of the laboratories and announced that those which were not fast enough would not receive any more samples to analyze.

The country’s two main laboratories, Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp, have since announced that the United States Medicines Agency (FDA) had authorized them to perform group tests in order to save time.

They analyze several samples at the same time, which are not re-analyzed individually until a test group turns out positive.

Covid-19 screening centers are also accused of sometimes delaying sending samples to laboratories.

“If you cannot locate positive people and those with whom they have been in contact, you ultimately allow the virus to spread freely”, Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber denounced July 10 on MSNBC.