TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – Florida’s Department of Health has severed ties with Quest Diagnostics after the company attempted to dump 75,000 COVID-19 test results, some dating as far back as April, on a single day.
“Quest’s failure to report nearly 75,000 results dating back to April means 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,” according to a statement from the Joint Information Center on COVID-19 for the State of Florida.
Quest Diagnostics is a nationwide lab that provides testing at private sites, as well as performing limited testing through the state.
According to the company, all individuals that tested positive were notified of their results.
The state’s health department and the Division of Emergency Management said at the direction of Governor Ron DeSantis they terminated Quest’s services because it failed to follow Florida law and report all COVID-19 results in a timely manner.
“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,” said DeSantis.
In response to the termination of services, Quest Diagnostics issued the following statement.
Quest Diagnostics takes seriously our responsibility to report laboratory data to public health authorities in a timely manner to aid pandemic response. Due to a technical issue, our reporting of a subset of public health COVID-19 test data to the Florida Department of Health was delayed. This subset involves nearly 75,000 of the approximately 1.4 million COVID-19 tests we had performed and reported to the state.
We apologize for this matter and regret the challenge it poses for public health authorities in Florida. The issue has since been resolved. Importantly, the issue did not affect or delay reporting of test results to providers and patients.
Quest Diagnostics has provided more COVID-19 testing on behalf of the citizens of Florida than any other laboratory and we believe we are well positioned to continue to effectively aid patient care and public health response for the state. We remain open to working with the state Department of Health to provide testing that meets the needs required for patient care and public health response.
The governor’s office said they were informed Monday night that the nearly 75,000 tests, dating as far back as April, were to be entered into the health department’s COVID-19 monitoring system. While the data, for the most part, were over 2 weeks old, the state incorporated information that would be useful and included the rest in the interest of transparency.
Without the backlog of Quest results, new cases reported by the state for August 31st would have been 3,773 with the positivity rate for new cases at 5.9 percent.
With the Quest results added, the number of new cases reported for August 31st jumps to 7,643 with a positivity rate of 6.8 percent.