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Nikki Fried says Florida health department stockpiling COVID tests

Agriculture Commissioner claims tests due to expire, blames governor for lack of information

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (WJXT)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The only Democrat in Florida’s cabinet and who also has her hat in the ring for the governor’s race in 2022 says that Florida’s Department of Health has COVID-19 tests stockpiled and they are due to expire. And she blames Gov. Ron DeSantis for the lack of information available about the tests.

“To let these tests expire while Floridians anxiously wait for hours in testing lines is negligent at best, and heartless at worst,” Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried posted on Twitter.

She also issued a statement sent to media.

“It’s come to my attention that Governor DeSantis’ Department of Health has a significant number of COVID-19 tests stockpiled that are set to expire imminently. Given the Governor’s lack of transparency throughout this pandemic, there’s no known public information about these tests or how soon they expire,” she stated.

“With omicron infections exploding throughout Florida, I beg of him to release these tests immediately to local counties and cities, and to stand up state-sponsored testing sites.”

Local10.com has reached out to the Governor’s office for comment, the Florida Department of Health, and Fried’s office. Many offices are closed for the holiday. We are awaiting responses.

In the past week, Florida has been reporting a record-breaking increase in coronavirus cases.

The U.S. Health and Human Services Department reported Florida hospitals were treating about 4,000 COVID-19 patients on Thursday and 3,400 on Wednesday. The Florida Hospital Association reported hospitals were dealing with staff shortages.

Local 10 News Political Reporter Michael Putney reported that the governor has been M.I.A. as numbers surge. “Despite the situation, Gov. Ron DeSantis decided to go on vacation.”


About the Author:

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local 10.com.