Debbie Mucarsel-Powell criticizes state officials for lag in reported testing numbers

Newly elected Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell
At issue is the state's tally of pending test results.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell is criticizing Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state COVID-19 testing apparatus after a Miami Herald report showed a significant lag in clearing that testing backlog.

At issue is the state’s tally of pending test results. As of Saturday, Florida has results for more than 170,000 individuals, but state data shows fewer than 1,500 pending results.

“Early in the Florida coronavirus outbreak, state health officials acknowledged that there is a lag in reporting pending results because private labs don’t immediately notify DOH when they start processing results, if at all,” Renzo Downey of Florida Politics reported Saturday.

“However, that fact is not immediately apparent on the department’s twice-daily COVID-19 reports.”

The gap comes in part due to private labs, which often do not inform the DOH prior to ordering a test. But Mucarsel-Powell and other critics worry the information lag could negatively impact the state’s response to the crisis.

“Florida’s COVID-19 apex is expected in April, and in order to confront the spike in coronavirus infected patients, combat the virus’ spread, and save lives, we must have trustworthy data so that we can make informed decisions about whether to continue our state-at-home order or keep schools closed,” Mucarsel-Powell said in a Saturday statement.

“This is not the first time I have raised strong concerns that the information we are receiving from the state is inadequate and inaccurate.”

The Congresswoman from Florida’s 26th Congressional District then recounted a conversation with Vice President Mike Pence where Pence urged members of Congress should work to keep their constituents informed.

“I wholeheartedly agree,” Mucarsel-Powell added, “but we cannot effectively perform this duty if we are not given complete and accurate information.”

She said county officials should release all testing information available to help supplement the state’s count.

“We cannot effectively respond to this threat to our community if the information we’re receiving is incomplete or misleading,” Mucarsel-Powell said.

“If reports about data inconsistencies by major news outlets are true, then local county officials must step up because the Governor‘s actions pose a major disservice to Floridians and are endangering our public health. This must be addressed now.”

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected].


  • BeeSafe

    April 11, 2020 at 4:55 pm

    As the elections grow nearer, the chorus sings louder. The political nonsense has got to stop. It will solve nothing and cause more division, when we need to be undivided as never before.

    If the politicians constantly harped on the Generals and military during WWII, there is no doubt that we would have lost it and been speaking German and/or Japanese today.

    Sad, that the media continues to push divisive people and divisive information, even if it is totally wrong.

  • Lisa Martell

    April 11, 2020 at 8:14 pm

    You couldn’t “Bee” more incorrect.
    I agree that politics should not come into play but it is and isn’t going anywhere.
    That said, we, the PUBLIC deserve a competent and transparent Department of Health.
    It’s up to the Governor to manage these problems. The responsibility is all on him.
    As the duly elected leader of our state, he owns this whole crisis here as well as the response to said crisis.

    The most serious problem is testing.
    There are other decisions on my list but DeSantis will NEVER be able to create a game plan to open Florida’s economy back up unless we know what’s out there. A second wave of illness should we open too soon is not the kind of waves we prefer here in Florida.
    We have already seen other countries attempts to lessen restrictions, only to have to pull back.

    Never forget that the citizens of this country elected these individuals. It is our right to question anything and everything and they report to those who “brung ’em”. That’s us.

    As far as I can see, nobody is critizing the military. Especially not now. They have been doing mind boggling and amazing work to protect and defend us.
    The only person I am aware of who continually critizes the Military in all of its forms lives in a white house on Pennsylvania Avenue.

    I want to know that my President and those down the food chain are doing what’s right by us, especially during a global pandemic. This is when the rubber hits the road when critiquing our US, State and local leaders.
    Without really comprehensive testing in addition to a quick turn around on the results.
    The virus calls the shots. We cannot move forward unless we truly know what’s out there.

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