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Florida to receive first shipment of rapid COVID tests from White House this week

This image provided by Abbott Laboratories in August 2020 shows the company's BinaxNOW rapid...
This image provided by Abbott Laboratories in August 2020 shows the company's BinaxNOW rapid COVID-19 nasal swab test. The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020, authorized BinaxNOW, the first rapid coronavirus test that doesn’t need any special computer equipment to get results. (Abbott Laboratories via AP)(Source: Abbott Laboratories via AP)
Published: Sep. 29, 2020 at 12:22 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 29, 2020 at 12:31 PM EDT
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CLEARWATER, Fla. (WCTV) - Florida’s governor announced Tuesday that rapid COVID tests will be available to schools as early as this weekend.

The White House announced Monday the state of Florida will receive 6.4 million rapid COVID-19 tests, and Gov. Ron DeSantis says the first 400,000 of them should arrive by Friday.

During a press conference at Baycare’s Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater, Gov. Ron DeSantis had a nurse demonstrate one of those rapid tests, which yielded a negative test result about halfway through the conference.

The governor says the rapid tests will be sent to seniors and schools, with a goal of limiting student quarantines.

“We want people in school. We want people in college," DeSantis says. “What I think this does, is if you have that student who starts developing symptoms, they can obviously be taken out, they can be given this test and we’ll know within 15 minutes whether it’s COVID or not.  If it’s not COVID, then you should not, by any means, isolate any healthy students.”

Beyond nursing homes and long term care facilities, the tests will go to senior centers and retirement communities. The state will get 400,000 tests each week, with the first batch coming at the end of this week, DeSantis says.

The Division of Emergency Management will distribute the tests across the state. Director Jared Moskowitz says they will work through the weekend to distribute the tests as quickly as possible.

A nurse is required to administer the test, but DeSantis says he is working on getting a waiver so others can administer it.

You can watch the full press conference, which was broadcast live on WCTV’s Facebook page, below.

*NOTE: Technical difficulties affected sound during the press conference. After a few minutes, the issue was resolved.*

DeSantis speaks at Clearwater hospital

LIVE: Gov. Ron DeSantis is holding a press conference at BayCare's Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater. (Feed via WTVT)

Posted by WCTV.tv on Tuesday, September 29, 2020

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