As of March 15, the state of Florida has expanded its criteria for coronavirus testing to allow doctors to test at their discretion.
The new state Department of Health guidance is a significant expansion of the previous criteria, which restricted testing mainly to those who traveled internationally or were exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19.
The new DOH testing guidance for doctors is as follows:
Test if your patient is exhibiting symptoms of acute lower respiratory illness (e.g., fever, cough, and shortness of breath) AND meets one or more of the following criteria:
- Persons who have had a close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 case
- Persons hospitalized with acute lower respiratory illness of unknown origin
- History of travel to or from an affected geographic area with widespread community transmission
- History of international travel or a cruise
- ≥65 with chronic health conditions
- Immunocompromised persons
If your patient does not meet the above criteria, testing may occur based on clinician’s judgement.
During a press conference on Tuesday evening, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said two groups should be prioritized for testing: the elderly, who are at higher risk for serious complications, and health care workers.
"They need to know, if they've been exposed, if they're positive, if they show symptoms. Do they have COVID-19 or not? We want to make sure they have the ability to do it," he said.
DeSantis said the state has enough kits to do about 250,000 tests and more are on the way. He also said he testing should be available free of charge.
Source: Florida Department of Health in Duval County spokeswoman Samantha Epstein.
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