BROWARD (CBSMiami) – Broward County is testing more and more people for COVID-19 at several testing sites. Yet, county and city leaders say it’s still not enough for the county to be able to enter a phase-one, step-by-step reopening of businesses and regular life.
“Unfortunately, we don’t control the testing,” said Broward County Mayor Dale Holness.READ MORE: Miami-Dade Mayor Says County To Follow CDC On New Mask Guidelines For Fully-Vaccinated Individuals
Holness said the county meets all other criteria for phased reopening, like a decrease in COVID-19 cases and adequate hospital space. What they lack, however, is robust testing. Holness spoke to CBS 4 News on Tuesday following a conference call with mayors from across the county’s 31 municipalities. He said the county relies on the state for testing materials and recently asked Governor Ron DeSantis to send 10 percent of the 200-thousand antibody tests the state recently received to Broward County. Holness believes that would provide an adequate understanding of the extent of the virus.
“Twenty-thousand tests would be a large amount for us to go ahead and utilize to get a good sampling as to where we are,” Holness said.
Holness said they requested the antibody tests several days ago and haven’t received a firm answer from the Governor’s Office.
“Not yes or no or how much, but I’m certain we’ll get some,” he said. “How many, we don’t know.”
At a news conference Tuesday in Sarasota, DeSantis spoke about the state’s plans for the tests.READ MORE: Former Opa-Locka City Employee Charged With Allegedly Pocketing Licensing Fees
“We’re also going to be announcing this week the deployment of antibody tests at our drive-thru testing facilities,” DeSantis said, adding “we’re going to send them to any hospitals that want them.”
A phase one reopening went into effect throughout Florida on Monday, except in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, due to the high number of COVID-19 cases in this region of the state. That plan allowed a slow reopening of businesses with restrictions, like 25% capacity in stores.
“Broward is trying to get there. We’re hoping to get there as quickly as possible,” said Hollywood Mayor Josh Levy, who was on the Tuesday conference call. “Once you start opening businesses of course you need to have that testing ability so you can gauge if there’s a resurgence of virus or if everything’s fine.”
Holness said the county has tried to acquire antibody tests on its own but they’re simply not available. He wants everyone that wants a test to be able to get one.
“That will help us reduce the spread because if you know your status you know that you can isolate yourself and then we can do the tracing that needs to be done,” he said.MORE NEWS: Gov. Ron DeSantis Announces He'll Pardon Plantation Gym Owner