FDOH cuts ties with Quest Diagnostics after company fails to report 75,000 COVID-19 test results

The Florida Department of Health (DOH) announced on Tuesday that Gov. Ron DeSantis has ordered all state executive agencies to sever ties with Quest Diagnostics after they reportedly "failed to follow Florida law and report all COVID-19 results in a timely manner."

"The law requires all COVID-19 test results to be reported to the Florida Department of Health in a timely manner," the DOH tweeted. "To drop this much unusable and stale data is irresponsible and Quest has abdicated their ability to perform a testing function in Florida.

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A healthcare worker organizes Covid-19 tests that were just administered at United Memorial Medical Center Covid-19 testing site in Houston, Texas Thursday, June 25, 2020. (Photo by MARK FELIX/AFP /AFP via Getty Images)

"@GovRonDeSantis is ordering all Florida executive agencies to sever their COVID-19 testing relationships with Quest effective immediately. Per Quest, all individuals that tested positive were notified of their results." 

In a press release sent to FOX 35 News. the DOH and the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) said they have cut ties with the lab.

"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."

“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," DeSantis said. "I believe that Quest has abdicated their ability to perform a testing function in Florida that the people can be confident in. As such I am directing all executive agencies to sever their COVID-19 testing relationships with Quest effective immediately.”

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The press release from the DOH goes on to say, "While the data, for the most part, were over two weeks old – with some being almost 5 months old – the state incorporated information that would be useful and included the rest in the interest of transparency."

Without the backlog of Quest results, the positivity rate for new cases on August 31, 2020, is 5.9%, according to the DOH.

Quest Diagnostics released the following statement on Tuesday:

"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.

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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."

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