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State claims Quest Diagnostics failed to report COVID-19 test results in 'timely manner,' cuts ties

Nearly 75,000 tests dumped overnight
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Posted at 11:42 AM, Sep 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-01 11:42:34-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - After officials say Quest Diagnostics failed to report nearly 75,000 COVID-19 test results dating back to April, the Florida Department of Health (DOH) and the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) is cutting all ties with the company.

The Florida Department of Health (DOH) and the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) announced the news on Tuesday, saying that they will be "severing all ties with Quest Diagnostics after Quest’s failure to follow Florida law and report all COVID-19 results in a timely manner."

The move was made at the request of Gov. Ron DeSantis.

“The law requires all COVID-19 results to be reported to DOH in a timely manner. To drop this much unusable and stale data is irresponsible. I believe that Quest has abdicated their ability to perform a testing function in Florida that the people can be confident in,"Governor DeSantis said. "As such I am directing all executive agencies to sever their COVID-19 testing relationships with Quest effective immediately.”

Monday night, health officials say the Governor’s office was informed that nearly 75,000 tests, dating as far back as April, were to be entered into the DOH COVID-19 monitoring system. While most of the data was over 2 weeks old, with some the data being almost 5 months old, the state "incorporated information that would be useful and included the rest in the interest of transparency."

Despite Quest’s failure to report the tests, state officials say all individuals that tested positive were notified of their results.

"Therefore, while significant, this unacceptable dump of test results is a data issue and does not impact the health of individuals or the spread of COVID-19 in Florida," health officials wrote a press release. "... most of the data in today’s upload – while it will have historical significance – will have little impact on the status of the pandemic today."

The FDOH released the data for Monday, highlighting the state positivity rate with and without the delayed Quest data.

Cases Reported August 31, 2020Without QuestWith Quest
Positivity Rate5.9%6.8%
Total New Cases3,7737,643