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AdventHealth: 35K virus tests ‘unreliable’

Okaloosa County health officials will host drive-thru COVID-19 testing in different locations...
Okaloosa County health officials will host drive-thru COVID-19 testing in different locations in the county. (U.S. Air Force / Taylor D. Slater)(WJHG)
Published: May. 17, 2020 at 10:17 AM EDT
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By: The Associated Press

May 17, 2020

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.. (AP) — The results of more than 35,000 COVID-19 tests ordered by Florida-based health care system and performed by a third-party lab are unreliable, with the majority of the questionable tests having been conducted in Florida, the company said Saturday.

According to AdventHealth, a faith-based health care system, the situation has created “unacceptable delays.” In a statement, AdventHealth didn’t name the third party lab. The tests were a mixture of positive and negative results, and some tests that hadn’t been yet returned.

“While we work successfully with many other labs across multiple states to provide COVID-19 tests for our communities, we have terminated our contract with this particular lab and share in the disappointment and frustration this situation has created. We are deeply sorry for the inconvenience and uncertainty it has caused,” said Terry Shaw, president/CEO of AdventHealth, wrote in the statement.

The company will notify the patients who are impacted with a letter and a phone call.

About 25,000 of the unreliable tests were in the central Florida area.

AdventHealth spokeswoman Melanie Lawhorn said the company has 49 hospitals in nine states, but two of those states are joint venture systems and were not affected by the unreliable testing situation.

Just over 630,000 people in Florida have been tested for coronavirus as of Saturday afternoon.

According to state health statistics, there have been more than 44,800 confirmed cases in the state, and at least 1,964 deaths. Those numbers were announced as businesses prepare for a “Phase One” reopening on Monday. Since the start of May, parts of the state have allowed some businesses to reopen with limited capacity.

The state will increase restrictions on restaurant and retail store capacity from 25% to 50%, as well as allow the reopening of museums, libraries and gyms at 50% capacity. Bars and movie theaters will remain closed. Also, Miami-Dade and Broward counties will be allowed to begin slowly reopening.