Florida cuts ties with Quest Diagnostic labs

Lab’s ‘failure to report results in a timely manner’ blamed.

Florida cuts ties with Quest Diagnostic labs
COVID-19 test (Source: WMC)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WWSB) - Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an order for the Florida Department of Health to cut ties with Quest Diagnostics.

According to the release, DeSantis claims the lab failed to report 75,000 results as far back as April. Those numbers will be added to Tuesday’s coronavirus report.

The Florida Department of Health quoted DeSantis as saying that the lab, “after Quest’s failure to follow Florida law and report all COVID-19 results in a timely manner.”

The new data is expected to cause a spike in the reported positivity rate in Florida. Gov. DeSantis acknowledge this spike in data was 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,” wrote DeSantis.

Without the backlog of Quest results, the positivity rate for new cases on August 31, 2020 is 5.9%.

At a press conference Tuesday, DeSantis told reporters, “Take today’s results and put them aside.”

Quest Diagnostics released the following statement:

Quest Diagnostics takes seriously our responsibility to report laboratory data to public health authorities in a timely manner to aid pandemic response. Due to a technical issue, our reporting of a subset of public health COVID-19 test data to the Florida Department of Health was delayed. This subset involves nearly 75,000 of the approximately 1.4 million COVID-19 tests we had performed and reported to the state.

We apologize for this matter and regret the challenge it poses for public health authorities in Florida. The issue has since been resolved.  Importantly, the issue did not affect or delay reporting of test results to providers and patients.

Quest Diagnostics has provided more COVID-19 testing on behalf of the citizens of Florida than any other laboratory and we believe we are well positioned to continue to effectively aid patient care and public health response for the state. We remain open to working with the state Department of Health to provide testing that meets the needs required for patient care and public health response.

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