Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried on Thursday announced a new joint effort to provide COVID-19 testing to farmworkers ahead of the Fall harvest.
The plan will provide free testing to employers, farmworkers and their families in several of Florida’s top agriculture counties.
The testing sites will be available for appointments and walk-in services. A mobile testing sight may also be available for groups in certain counties.
The initial participating counties include Miami-Dade and Hillsborough County.
Test results may take up to 36 hours to generate.
“Florida’s farmworkers are essential workers critical to feeding 150 million Americans, but they’re also more susceptible to respiratory illnesses like COVID-19, and often lack health coverage,” Fried said. “As the harvest season begins, having access to coronavirus testing will help keep farmworkers, their families, and their communities safe, with a potential next COVID-19 wave coming this fall.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has created a printable flyer to help raise awareness among farmworkers.
The flyers are available in English, Spanish and Creole. A Spanish-language public service announcement will also air in the participating counties.
FDACS has also created a Spanish-language video for social media.
Support for the testing effort is provided by the FDACS, the Florida Division of Emergency Management and several county governments.
These testing services will continue as funding and availability allow.
FDACS said additional testing sites will be set up in St. Lucie and Hendry Counties in the coming weeks.
“We thank UF/IFAS, the Florida Division of Emergency Management, and county governments for their partnership to make this life-saving testing possible,” Fried said.
On Thursday, state health officials reported 709,144 total COVID-19 cases in Florida. In all, 14,444 Florida residents have died with the virus.
The worldwide COVID-19 death toll this week surpassed 1 million.