Story at a glance
- Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a reopening plan for the state, beginning with some businesses.
- At this time, less than 2 percent of residents have been tested for coronavirus, according to a Miami Herald analysis.
- In some counties, especially in rural areas, the percent of the population tested for COVID-19 is even lower.
As Florida prepares to reopen, a Miami Herald analysis reveals that about 1.8 percent of the state’s residents have been tested for COVID-19. With a population of 21,477,737, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, this means more than 21 million Floridians have still not been tested for COVID-19.
Testing rates are even lower in some rural counties, including Hardee, where just 0.5 percent of the population has been tested, and Suwannee, where 108 residents and employees at a nursing home tested positive.
Still, starting Monday, Florida will allow retail stores and restaurants to open with 25 percent capacity indoors as well as outdoor seating at dining establishments with tables placed 6-feet apart. Elective surgeries, which were not deemed essential under the earlier stay-at-home order, will also be allowed.
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Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, which have the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the state, are excluded from the reopening plan, although they have some of the highest testing rates in the state, at 2.94 percent for Miami-Dade, 2.36 percent for Broward and 1.88 for Palm Beach, according to the Miami Herald.
The Miami Herald analysis also looked at the percentage of tests that gave positive results for COVID-19, which ranges between 9.8 percent in Sumter and 18.65 percent in Gadsden. The World Health Organization has set a target rate of 10 percent or less for positive tests, which the state currently falls under.
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