Fla. Gov. DeSantis: State will send out 1M at-home tests to nursing homes

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - JANUARY 06: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference about the opening of a COVID-19 vaccination site at the Hard Rock Stadium on January 06, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. The governor announced that the stadium's parking lot which offers COVID-19 tests will begin to offer COVID-19 vaccinations for residents 65 and older to drive up and get vaccinated. The vaccination site opened today for a trial run but it was not known when it will be open to the general public. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

FILE -Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference about the opening of a COVID-19 vaccination site at the Hard Rock Stadium on January 06, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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UPDATED 8:09 AM PT – Friday, January 7, 2022

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis launched an initiative that distributes at-home coronavirus tests to senior citizens. He highlighted the need for the program during a press conference in West Palm Beach Thursday, assuring state officials recognize seniors are at greater risk.

“We have the ability to send out a million at home tests and what we’re going to start by doing is sending them to our nursing homes and long-term care facilities,” explained the Republican.

DeSantis affirmed there’s no need for young and healthy Floridians to be running out and getting tested every day. He also maintained the Sunshine State’s most severe cases stem from the Delta variant, not Omicron which now represents the vast majority of new cases in the U.S.

Meanwhile, DeSantis pointed out the Biden administration has failed on its promise to make at-home tests widely available.

“As many of you know the federal government had promised to send massive amounts of that into American communities, actually promised you could go on line (and) request one, and they would just mail it to your home,” he stated. “That has not materialized and so we’ve tried to look and say: where can we make an impact?”

His comments came the same day White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki claimed DeSantis was not advocating for the people in his state to get vaccinated

“I would say it’s pretty rich coming from Gov. DeSantis, given he has been someone who’s been advocating — not exactly advocating — for people in his state to get vaccinated, which we know is the way that people can be protected,” she remarked. “If DeSantis wants to be a part of this constructive process, then perhaps he should encourage what science says.”

While the Republican governor has strongly voiced his opposition of vaccine mandates and the government taking away peoples right to choose, he has also voiced support for the vaccine.

“If you look at the people that are being admitted to hospitals, over 95 percent of them are either not fully vaccinated or not vaccinated at all,” he noted. “These vaccines are saving lives.”

During his press conference Thursday, DeSantis called for Joe Biden to answer why better testing initiatives haven’t been put in place despite billions-of-dollars going toward those programs. He added, the coronavirus will be here to stay and it is important to focus on living with it rather than trying to get the disease to go away.

In the meantime, DeSantis said the nursing homes and long-term care facilities should start receiving the tests Sunday.

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