Florida Providing One Million at-home COVID Tests for Seniors

at home covid tests kit
FILE - As omicron continues to spread, the demand for COVID-19 tests is on the rise. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — One million at-home COVID-19 tests will be available to Florida’s nursing homes and assisted living facilities under a new initiative, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday.

The Republican governor made the announcement during a news conference in West Palm Beach on Thursday morning at the Rehabilitation Center of the Palm Beaches.

Starting Thursday, the self-administered tests will be sent to every nursing home and long-term care facility in the state, DeSantis said. They can then request additional kits as needed.

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The state will also start making the kits available to senior communities.

“Our view 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.

Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo said the state is following a “sensible public health” campaign by focusing on testing only those who are at risk or showing symptoms of COVID-19.

The governor said the number of people who end up on ventilators due to the omicron variant is much lower than during the summer surge of the delta variant. He said the most severely ill patients in hospitals still tend to be suffering from the delta variant.

On Wednesday, the state reported nearly 60,000 new cases of COVID-19 to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last week, Florida broke several records for the number of cases reported in a single day since the pandemic began in March 2020, reaching nearly 76,000 new cases on New Year’s Eve.

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