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DeSantis: Remdesivir heading to Florida hospitals to help fight COVID-19

"I think it shortened hospital stays, taken patients from the ICU," he said during a news conference Saturday.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis made a stop at Flagler Hospital in St. Augustine Saturday afternoon, giving the public an update on the coronavirus pandemic in the state.

During a news conference, DeSantis said the drug, remdesivir, has shown positive results when combatting COVID-19.

"I think it shortened hospital stays, taken patients from the ICU...," he said. "Probably had a positive effect on mortality as well."

DeSantis said about 30,000 more vials of remdesivir will be sent to Florida hospitals over the next 48 to 72 hours and is expected to help 5,000 to 6,000 patients.

"When [COVID-19] hit in March... there weren't any treatments," he said. "No one knew how to deal with it at the time... but also by flattening the curve, spreading this out over a period of time, it gave the opportunity for American innovation to take hold... [and] one of the drugs that has been developed is remdesivir."

Initial results from a study showed that remdesivir, which is the only drug cleared to treat COVID-19 by the FDA, sped up the recovery time of patients with the virus.

The Florida Department of Health's Saturday report added another 10,328 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the state's total to 337,569. Out of those positive cases, 9,158 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in the state.

Regarding testing, DeSantis said Florida is seeing about 100,000 test results a day. He compared that number to some of the hardest-hit states in the beginning of the pandemic that had about 20,000 to 30,000 a day.

"It's important to understand who we are testing and how... what does that really mean," DeSantis said.

Even though the positive number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb, he said the state is in a "much better" position than it was a couple of weeks ago. He said the state is reporting closer to 11 percent positive compared to nearly 16 percent "weeks ago."

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