'This much unusable and stale data is irresponsible': Florida drops Quest after backlog of 75K COVID-19 test results

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis notified state health agencies Sept. 1 to immediately cut ties with Quest Diagnostics for COVID-19 testing after the company reported almost 75,000 tests late on Aug. 31, CNBC reports.

Most of the previously unreported tests were two weeks old, but some dated back as far as five months ago, according to Florida's health department. The department said that Quest had informed everyone who tested positive for the virus of their results despite the backlog in reporting to the state agencies.

 "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," Mr. DeSantis said in a statement, according to the report. "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."

Mr. DeSantis's office did not become aware of the test results backlog until Aug. 31, according to the report.

The data reporting backlog has affected Florida's data, the health department said. Without including the backlog of results, the state reported 3,773 new cases on Aug. 31 and 5.9 percent of all tests were positive. With the backlog data factored in, the percent of positive tests increased to 6.8 percent and the total number of new cases reported for the day more than doubled to 7,643.

Quest did not return the network's request for comment.

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