The crunch for COVID-19 tests over the holidays and to start 2022 has Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and his medical team encouraging people without symptoms to skip the lines altogether.
The governor hopes this would bring fewer people to testing sites — for example, those who have symptoms, those who are vulnerable, or people who plan to visit high-risk family members.
“A lot of those tests aren’t a good use of testing," DeSantis said in a news conference Tuesday. "Testing really needs to be focused on the people who have clinical symptoms.”
“If you have no symptoms, please don’t get tested, you’re so unlikely to benefit from that," said Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo.
But infectious disease expert Dr. Aileen Marty says it’s dangerous to discourage testing.
“We do need to identify anyone who is spreading the virus, so they stop spreading it," Marty said. "There is no advantage to spreading the virus."
Marty insists people who are asymptomatic should certainly still test if they’ve been exposed or work in an indoor setting with people who are unvaccinated or unmasked.
“No. 1, they can become symptomatic a few days later and they can spread it to others and continue this horrific transmission, which, remember, just because you didn’t get sick, doesn’t mean you didn’t cause someone else to end up in the hospital," Marty said.
“If there is no reason why you think you’ve been exposed, and you’re not in the type of job where you’ll be exposed, then perhaps that individual doesn’t have to be tested," she said.
DeSantis said he is also working to provide more at-home rapid tests to nursing homes and senior centers in the coming weeks but didn't give details on how that will be done.
The state reported 51,644 more COVID-19 cases for Monday. As of Tuesday, there were 6,914 inpatient beds in use for COVID-19, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The first day of a new testing site at Miami Marine Stadium faced technical issues. In Broward County, Fort Lauderdale officials announced the opening of a new testing site to keep up with the demand.
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