Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state's top emergency management official confirmed Thursday that 800,000 to 1 million COVID test kits in the state's stockpile recently expired without being used.
At a Thursday news conference, Kevin Guthrie, the director of Florida's Division of Emergency Management, told reporters when asked about the state's stockpile: "We had between 800,000 and a million test kits, Abbott rapid test kits, in our warehouse that did expire."
Guthrie said the reason the tests expired in the last week of December was that there was inadequate demand for their use. State officials had already requested a three-month extension on the tests' use from federal officials when they were last set to expire in September, only for the tests to again sit unused. Florida officials are again seeking a three-month extension on the tests, but have yet to receive an answer on their continued viability from federal officials and the manufacturer, Guthrie said.
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DeSantis said tests from the stockpile were being sent out to localities as requested and that demand for them slowed beginning in September when the COVID case surge attributed to the delta variant began to cool down.
"There was no withholding of anything," DeSantis told reporters.