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Coronavirus in Florida

DeSantis: Florida’s positive coronavirus test rate drops in half in less than two weeks

Ron DeSantis is hopeful antibody testing will signal return to normalcy.

With nearly 5,000 Floridians hospitalized with COVID-19, a global pandemic continues to impact the state. But a gradual decline in average new cases has state officials optimistic about the flattening of the curve.

Gov. Ron DeSantis at a press conference in Orlando Sunday said he’s most focused on the positive rate for new testing, and that has gone down.

“Over the last several weeks, it was pretty consistently 9%, 10%, which is also low compared to where many other parts of the country (were,) but then that creeped into 7%, 8%. And then the last few days, it’s been 6%, and 5%. And so that is a good sign when you see a declining positivity rate,” DeSantis said.

“But we really believe in Florida that trying to expand testing as much as possible is something that’s very, very important.”

The newest data shows that 313,085 negative tests have come back in Florida for the 31,528 positive cases. Another 569 tests proved inconclusive while 1,183 tests were pending as of 10 a.m. April 26.

But the percent of positives for new cases has gone from 10% on April 13 to 5% on April 25.

That includes not only testing for COVID-19 but more aggressively testing for antibodies, a sign individuals had the coronavirus but no longer do whether they have recovered from it or never showed symptoms.

Still, the World Health Organization on Saturday warned there’s still no evidence getting COVID-19 once will prevent a second infection, CNN reports.

“At this point in the pandemic, there is not enough evidence about the effectiveness of antibody-mediated immunity to guarantee the accuracy of an ‘immunity passport’ or ‘risk-free certificate,’ ” read a statement from the WHO.

Meanwhile, DeSantis on Sunday also said more than 267,000 individuals in Florida have received payments in unemployment claims. That comes as a much-criticized unemployment system frustrated hundreds of thousands furloughed or laid off during the pandemic.

A number of local governments have started reassessing major purchases amid fears of tax revenue shortfalls. That controversially includes spending on body cameras for police.

As the Re-Open Florida Task Force continues to meet, an online portal was opened this weekend encouraging public input.

The Governor said the state will allow pharmacies to administer COVID-19 tests and announced state labs will be receiving new equipment in late May to significantly increase the number of daily samples tested. DeSantis also said officials would receive a shipment with antibody tests on May 1. The state has 40% of regular bed and ICU bed availability, DeSantis said, which he said was leading him to likely restart elective procedures and surgeries soon.

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at jacobogles@hotmail.com.

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