JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — On Monday, during his first news conference of 2022, Gov. Ron DeSantis along with the Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo said it's time to stop "planning and living life" around COVID-19 testing.
Dr. Ladapo said the state will be the first to emphasize "high-value" testing versus "low-value" testing through a new plan. He used the example of an elderly grandmother given more testing consideration over an 8-year-old third grader.
Tuesday in Jacksonville, DeSantis announced the state would send at-home tests to elderly populations starting with nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other senior communities.
"Because the federal government has not followed through on its promise to do at-home tests, we’re going to do that starting with a focus on elderly populations," said DeSantis.
On Tuesday, President Joe Biden announced the federal government would be launching a website this month, giving people the ability to get an at-home test shipped to their house for free.
Back in Florida on Tuesday, Ladapo clarified the new testing guidelines he's expected to issue soon for the Sunshine State. Ladapo explained the state will identify specific populations where a positive test result might change the course of treatment or outcome.
"We’re not telling people you can’t get tested," Ladapo said. "We’re not restricting access. What we are saying is we don’t think it’s sensible that people who are unlikely to benefit, unlikely to have any change in their clinical outcome to sort of be in line waiting to get tested."
DeSantis and Ladapo believe the testing requirements set by businesses and governments is bogging down society and often offers no benefit.
"If you do a test and it doesn’t change everything, what was the point of the test?" Ladapo said.
Ladapo outlined some of the upcoming guidance like this: If you have symptoms and you're high-risk, get tested. If you have symptoms and no risk factors, consider getting tested. If you have no symptoms, don't get tested.
When it comes to the federal guidance: Right now, the CDC says reasons for testing include if you have symptoms, had an exposure, for work and school screenings or travel.
The director of Communications with the Florida Department of Health said we can expect the guidelines issued by the Florida surgeon general "soon."