State Watch

Florida sending 1 million free COVID-19 tests to elderly communities

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced on Thursday the state will be sending 1 million free COVID-19 tests to elderly communities. 

The 1 million at-home tests will first be sent to long-term care facilities and nursing homes, then “senior heavy communities.”

He said the state’s position on testing is “if you are just young and healthy, you don’t need to be running out and getting tested every day.”

DeSantis said tests for seniors are more important because they are the demographic most likely to need medical treatment if they contract COVID-19. 

The initiative comes as COVID-19 tests have been in short supply across the country during the surge of cases caused by the omicron variant. 

“We’ve tried to put seniors first just recognizing that seniors are at greater risk,” DeSantis added.

DeSantis noted how omicron is “way more contagious” but “less lethal.” The “most severe” cases in Florida are still from the delta variant, he said. 

Florida’s surgeon general, Joseph Ladapo, was criticized earlier this week for saying he wanted to “unwind” the “testing psychology” around COVID-19, prioritizing higher risk people. 

Ladapo said it was “really time for people to be living, to make the decisions they want regarding vaccination, to enjoy the fact that many people have natural immunity.”

Despite more than 70 percent of Florida’s residents over the age of five being fully vaccinated, the state has recently broken daily COVID-19 records as the omicron wave spreads across the U.S.

Republican senators are pressing the Biden administration for answers on why a testing shortage has occurred in the country despite billions in funding.

Tags at-home testing COVID-19 COVID-19 pandemic in Florida Ron DeSantis Ron DeSantis SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant
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