At the direction of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) and the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) announced it would be severing all ties with Quest Diagnostics after Quest’s failure to follow Florida law and report all covid-19 results in a timely manner. “Quest’s failure to report nearly 75,000 results dating back to April means most of the data in today’s upload—while it will have historical significance—will have little impact on the status of the pandemic today,” the press release stated. Per Quest, all individuals that tested positive were notified of their results. “Therefore, while significant, this unacceptable dump of test results is a data issue and does not impact the health of individuals or the spread of covid-19 in Florida,” said the press release. Quest Diagnostics is a large, nationwide lab that provides testing at private sites, as well as performing limited testing through the state. Upon announcing this action, Governor DeSantis said, “The law requires all covid-19 results to be reported to FDOH in a timely manner. To drop this much unusable and stale data is irresponsible. I believe that Quest has abdicated their ability to perform a testing function in Florida that the people can be confident in. As such I am directing all executive agencies to sever their covid-19 testing relationships with Quest effective immediately.” On August 31, the Governor’s office was informed that nearly 75,000 tests, dating as far back as April, were to be entered into the FDOH covid-19 monitoring system. While the data, for the most part, were over 2 weeks old—with some being almost 5 months old—the state incorporated information that would be useful and included the rest in the interest of transparency. Without the backlog of Quest results, the positivity rate for new cases on August 31, 2020 was 5.9%. For more information, visit the Florida Department of Health.
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