Yesterday Florida Governor Ron DeSantis held a press conference and addressed the subject of at-home COVID-19 testing. He said that the president has failed to provide at-home tests for Floridians so he is stepping up and getting tests to those who are most vulnerable. This morning on Fox and Friends, he announced that he has secured one million at-home test kits which will be mailed to nursing homes and long-term care facilities first and then to the broader population as needed.
The plan is to get the at-home tests to people most in need who may otherwise not be able to be tested due to a lack of test availability. Florida has not had a problem with keeping store shelves stocked with COVID-19 test kits, DeSantis said, until the Omicron variant caused an increased demand. Though the Biden administration announced that it would be mailing out at-home test kits to distribute 500 million test kits across the country, distribution has not begun. DeSantis decided to step in and make sure Floridians were served. As conservatives know, the government closest to the people is the best. The federal government is a lumbering bureaucracy that moves slowly and is usually inefficient.
“As soon as we figured out the feds weren’t going to follow through on this, we’ve been working. We’re definitely going to be sending some at-home (tests). The question is how many,” DeSantis told reporters.
One problem DeSantis mentioned is that a lot of testing is unnecessary. Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo said Florida Department of Health intends to publish new testing guidelines that emphasize “high-value testing.”
During Tuesday’s press conference with DeSantis, Ladapo added some clarity to the state plan. He said the guidance will be geared toward “populations for whom testing is more likely to change outcomes.”
“The guidance that we’re going to be putting out will be talking about … testing based on risk factors, based on risk level. Because that’s the primary item that determines whether or not a test is actually likely to make a difference,” Ladapo said.
DeSantis said his administration intends to prioritize nursing homes, assisted living facilities, senior communities and local emergency-management and health departments for the tests.
DeSantis is critical of what he describes as a poor use of tests, using test results required to travel by air or return to work. It’s overkill and creates shortages.
“A lot of those tests are not a good use of testing. Testing really needs to be focused on the people that have clinical symptoms. So you have people that are symptomatic, and they may not have as good of access because you have so many other tests being used in ways which really aren’t a good use of resources,” the governor said.
So, this morning he announced that a purchase of one million tests has been secured for Floridians. According to Kevin Guthrie, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, it took a few days and tests will begin going out today.
“If you’re young and healthy, you don’t need to be running out and getting tested every day,” he said at a news conference at the Rehabilitation Center of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach on Thursday.. “People who are testing that have high-value, that’s where we want to focus.”
Most of the cases in Florida are omicron, but delta is still more serious, he said. “This variant is spreading much faster than other variants, but is less lethal.”
COVID is “not something that’s going to vanish off the face of the earth, but it’s going to be something we’re going to live with,” DeSantis said. “With prevention, with treatments, with acquired immunity,” it’s something the state can manage, he said.
DeSantis also wants to see more use of monoclonal antibody treatments. He said that the federal government has “cornered the entire market” and should not be holding back on the medications, especially for the elderly population.
Getting out in front of the Biden administration in delivering at-home tests to vulnerable Floridians is a win for DeSantis. He is still at the top of the list of potential 2024 presidential candidates and this is another successful move for him. Most of all, it’s a win for Floridians.