Rick Scott, Ron DeSantis disagree on pausing COVID-19 testing
Healthcare worker Dante Hills passes paperwork to a woman in a vehicle at a COVID-19 testing site outside of Marlins Park in Miami. Image via AP.

covid testing miami
"You shut down a testing center, you just slow down information."

Sen. Rick Scott continued on Friday to contend that states, specifically Florida, need to offer better “information” regarding COVID-19. But the current Governor disagrees.

The first-term Republican was on Fox Business Friday morning with host Stuart Varney when he took issue with the state’s decision to close down testing sites ahead of Hurricane Isaias.

“Testing is really important,” Scott said. “We do need to get the testing done. We need to get the tests and results back quickly so people can quarantine themselves and tell everybody else they may be positive.”

“You shut down a testing center, you just slow down information,” Scott added.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, addressing media in Tallahassee at the Emergency Operations Center, noted that shutting down state testing sites along the east coast would not bring the effort grinding to a halt.

“The sites are part of what is done on a daily basis but they aren’t even close to the total number [of tests] done,” DeSantis said.

The Governor went on to note that testing isn’t a panacea, saying Friday that “we’ll get data dumps for positives that were three weeks ago.”

“People can test positive for weeks on end,” DeSantis added, but there’s a “relatively short period of time when you can transmit this thing.”

Whether those words will change Scott’s narrative is an open question, but he has continued to contend that a failure of messaging good information has led to a lingering crisis in Florida and other hotspots.

“It comes down to this: Florida and every state has got to give people the information and let them know how they can protect themselves and talk about it constantly,” said Sen. Rick Scott Thursday on the Fox News Rundown.

The Senator therein suggested the first-term Republican’s messaging had considerable room for improvement, offering his own performance as Governor as a potential corrective.

“When a hurricane was bearing down on my state,” Scott noted, “I was giving a press conference every few hours.”

As testing is curtailed, deaths in Florida continue to mount, the storm’s approach notwithstanding.

Results reported by the Florida Department of Health on Friday show yet another record day of deaths, with 257 of them tallied between Thursday and Friday’s reports.

Cases were down from record levels in recent days, with 9,007 new diagnoses in Friday morning’s report.

All told in the state, 6,843 deaths have been attributed to COVID-19 thus far, a number destined to tick upwards as deaths from previous days and weeks are added to the total.

Florida continues to wrestle with positive testing rates over 10% daily, which illustrates the risk in pausing that process given rampant community spread in numerous parts of the state.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Ocean Joe

    July 31, 2020 at 11:58 am

    Scott did to weather experts, what he now concedes Trump and DeSantis have done with medical experts. He monopolized hurricane information. I didn’t carpetbag here from Indiana, so having witnessed Florida’s official response to hurricanes all my life, we used to have information provided by the National Weather Service, Neil Frank, Craig Fugate and FEMA, and local weather legends as well. The governor and his staff would always be there, but the meteorologists led the briefings and answered questions directly from reporters. Scott pushed them into the background and hogged the spotlight, impeding the flow of information.

    He gave out his personal phone number, but somehow when that nursing home called he chose not to answer and then doubled down attacking them to avoid the blame for the resulting deaths.

    If you were putting up shutters and came in for a break to cool off, yes you would hear Rick Scott stirring up a panic, over and over. He convinced a tremendous number of folks to flee southeast Florida, who then got to southwest Florida (where Irma hit) who couldn’t find gas to get out of there.
    We now have our first storm approaching, does not look bad, but I much prefer letting the weathermen speak, just as the experts should speak on the pandemic.

    So stop the hypocrisy, Desantis is doing what you did .


    July 31, 2020 at 11:44 pm


    IN OUR OPINION, DiSantis, Rubio and Scott (planning to run for pres! in future) need to know that everyone we talk with say they are never, ever voting republican Again.

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