NAPLES (CBSMiami/CNN) – Governor Ron DeSantis is pressing the federal government for an additional
30,000 to 40,000 doses of monoclonal antibody treatments per week so he can open up to 10 more treatment centers.

During a press conference with Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo at Florida Department of Health- Collier County, the governor said while they asked for 40,000 additional doses, they were told they would on be sent 12,000 doses, a fraction of what DeSantis said was needed to meet the state’s demand.

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States cannot buy the treatments directly from companies that make them, they have to go through the federal government, which is allocating them.

DeSantis says the federal government has “cornered the entire market” of the drugs.

The governor said if the administration won’t send the additional doses, he’s calling on it to allow states to buy the treatments directly from the companies.

DeSantis also said the state’s Department of Health and Human Services is coming up with a plan to provide at-home tests to people here in Florida.

Saying that the “federal government is not going to come through” on a plan to distribute at-home coronavirus tests, DeSantis said the state is honing its own strategy to send tests to vulnerable Floridians.

DeSantis has made testing for COVID-19 the latest front in his clashes with President Joe Biden’s administration, after the White House last month announced a plan to distribute 500 million at-home coronavirus tests throughout the country. Distribution of the tests has not been launched yet.

DeSantis said the state isn’t waiting.

“As soon as we figured out the feds weren’t going to follow through on this, we’ve been working. We’re definitely going to be sending some at-home (tests). The question is how many,” DeSantis told reporters.
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WATCH: Governor Ron DeSantis News Conference In Naples


The governor’s comments came a day after Ladapo announced the Florida Department of Health intends to publish new testing guidelines aimed at emphasizing “high-value testing,” which he said would target seniors and medically vulnerable individuals and to help relieve the demand at testing sites.

Ladapo said that the new recommendation for testing is only to get one if you have symptoms or are at risk. People who are not at risk and don’t have symptoms do not need to get tested, he added.

Asked about Ladapo’s comments, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday deferred to “our own health and medical experts on when tests should be administered and utilized.”

Ladapo also said Tuesday the guidance will be geared toward “populations for whom testing is more likely to change outcomes.”

“The guidance that we’re going to be putting out will be talking about … testing based on risk factors, based on risk level. Because that’s the primary item that determines whether or not a test is actually likely to make a difference,” Ladapo said.

DeSantis said his administration intends to prioritize nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, senior communities and local emergency-management and health departments for the tests.

Amid skyrocketing COVID-19 cases driven by the highly contagious omicron variant of the virus, DeSantis also criticized the use of tests as a way to clear people for air travel or a return to work.

“A lot of those tests are not a good use of testing. Testing really needs to be focused on the people that have clinical symptoms. So you have people that are symptomatic, and they may not have as good of access because you have so many other tests being used in ways which really aren’t a good use of resources,” the governor said.

As DeSantis and Ladapo take aim at mass testing, the state Department of Health on Friday released a report that showed 298,455 new coronavirus cases were recorded in the week that ended Dec. 30 — more than double the number of cases reported a week earlier.

Florida Democrats on Tuesday blasted DeSantis’ plan to cut down on coronavirus testing for the broader population of people as COVID-19 cases continue to climb.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who is running for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, said Tuesday the governor’s approach is “less tests means less cases.”

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said the proposal “isn’t based on science, and it ignores the reality that people find themselves in.”

“So many Florida families have multi-generational households, which makes the governor and surgeon general’s plan to discourage testing for asymptomatic people and children downright dangerous,” Wasserman Schultz told reporters.

The Naples news conference was the second one scheduled for the day. The first one did not happen in Jacksonville after a disruption before it got started.

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CBSMiami.com Team