Hello, and happy Friday.
State Surgeon General Scott Rivkees, the secretary of the Florida Department of Health, said a “backlog” at one of the state’s largest testing partners is responsible for a recent spike in the number of COVID-19 cases.
Quest Diagnostics, Rivkees said, sent more than 4,000 patient test results to the state Wednesday night, causing a 25 percent spike Thursday over the day before in the number of positive cases reported. As of Thursday night, 2,484 positive cases had been reported. The spike continued into Friday as the Department of Health said 2,900 residents or visitors had tested positive for COVID-19.
“They got caught up in the backlog in their laboratory,” Rivkees said of the 4,000 patient results the state received Wednesday night. “They typically send us results from 1,200 to 2,000 patients a day. So that’s what that spike represents.”
Quest Diagnostics has testing sites across the state, and Rivkees didn’t comment on which laboratory had the backlog. Quest Diagnostics in Tampa had tested 7,552 people, according to Thursday data.
Rivkees made the rermarks on a conference call with some of the state's long-term care providers. Quest Diagnostics' corporate communications department did not immediately answer questions about the backlog and why it occurred.
Shortly after Rivkees' remarks, the state sent an advisory to all so-called CLIA laboratories advising them of regulations requiring the prompt reporting of the information and penalties, including $500 fines, for not complying with the rules. CLIA --- or the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 --- set federal standards for all U.S. facilities or sites that test human specimens for health assessments or to diagnose, prevent or treat diseases.
“Please be advised that strict compliance with this rule is of the utmost importance during this public health emergency.,” the state Agency for Health Care Administration said in the advisory. “Any gaps or delays in reporting time hinder efficient emergency response and resource allocation. The Department (of Health) trusts you, the CLIA-certified facility, to meet your obligation to report immediately during this pandemic."
The Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling proposes Emergency Rule 64B4ER20-20, which alters a requirement that interns complete clinical internship hours by face-to-face psychotherapy with clients. More here.
The Board of Pharmacy proposes Emergency Rule 64B16ER20-21, which waives the requirement for off-site consultant pharmacists to conduct in-person inspections of institutional pharmacies. More here.
The Board of Massage Therapy proposes Emergency Rule 64B7ER20-22, regarding educational requirements and distance learning. More here.
The Board of Podiatric Medicine proposes changing Rule 64B18-17.001, regarding continuing education for licensure renewal. More here.
The Board of Physical Therapy proposes changing Rule 64B17-8.003, regarding continuing education requirements and human trafficking. More here.
AHCA is proposing changes to Rules 59C-1.004, 59C-1.005, 59C-1.0085, 59C-1.010, 59C-1.012, 59C-1.020, 59C-1.021,59C-1.032 and 59C-1.033. More here.
CERTIFICATE OF NEED
AHCA this week approved two CON exemptions for nursing home projects in coastal counties.
PruittHealth in Escambia County received approval for a 120-bed nursing home, after receiving approval to combine beds from two homes. The estimated cost of the projects is about $26 million.
PruittHealth in St. Johns County received approval for a $26.8 million-plus project that will combine beds from two facilities to create a new 120-bed community nursing home.
WEEK IN REVIEW
—What do you have to hide? ... As the novel coronavirus continues to spread across Florida, the DeSantis administration has been mostly quiet on its impact on long-term care facilities and the roughly 190,000 elderly and disabled residents they serve. More here.
—Don't lock 'em up ... Florida law enforcement officials are locking up fewer people and in some cases releasing non-violent offenders, a strategy designed to stem the spread of the coronavirus through the state’s criminal-justice system. More here.
—No experience, no worries ... Ryan West, a longtime ally of Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, will head the state’s subsidized health-insurance program for low- and moderate-income children. The Florida Healthy Kids Board of Directors on Thursday chose West to serve as CEO of Florida Healthy Kids Corp. More here.
—Joe joins the chorus ... Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden criticized Gov Ron DeSantis for not ordering shelter-in-place requirements. More here.
10 a.m. The Florida Board of Optometry will hold a training session for new members. Call: 1-888-585-9008. Participant code:136103141.
8:30 a.m.The Florida Board of Nursing Credentials Committee will meet. Call: 1-888-585-9008. Participant code: 275112502. Agenda here.
Immediately following the Credentials Committee meeting, the Florida Board of Nursing Education Committee will meet. Call: 1-888-585-9008. Participant code: 188722142. Agenda here.
9 a.m. The Board of Orthotists and Prosthetists will meet. Call: 1-888-585-9008. Participant code: 744469610. Agenda here.
1:30 p.m.The Florida Board of Nursing will meet. Call: 1-888-585-9008. Participant code: 275112502. Agenda here.
9 a.m. The Board of Optometry will meet. Call: 1-888-585-9008. Participant code: 136103141. Agenda here.
9 a.m. The Florida Board of Massage Therapy will meet. Call: 1-888-585-9008. Participant code: 508909666. Agenda here.
9 a.m. The State Child Abuse Death Review Committee will meet to discuss reducing preventable child abuse deaths. Call 1-888-585-9008. Participant code: 574-649225.