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Early results: Coronavirus tests find no asymptomatic cases in The Villages

Testing at the polo field in The Villages began on Monday. Photo: Joe Byrnes

Updated at 9 a.m. Tuesday

The University of Florida reported on The Villages drive-through testing program after the first week:

  • UF Health and The Villages Health evaluated 2,280 people.
  • Of 900 tested with symptoms, 23 tested positive for coronavirus, including 15 on Thursday and Friday.
  • Among 1,400 who indicated no symptoms, two tested on Friday do have the virus and were soon showing symptoms. Gov. Ron DeSantis reported 900 asymptomatic tests with zero positives, but the UF numbers are more complete.

“These results show evidence of initial community spread; however, it does not appear to be widespread, at least so far,” Dr. Michael Lauzardo, M.D., deputy director of the UF Emerging Pathogens Institute, said in a prepared statement. “We are continuing to closely monitor the situation.”

Original article

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says the first week of an ongoing study by the University of Florida in The Villages found no cases of coronavirus among test subjects without symptoms.

UF Health has teamed up with The Villages and the state for a drive-through testing site at the polo field. Researchers are doing two types of tests: clinical tests for people with symptoms and research tests for volunteers without symptoms.

They hope to determine whether older people are likely to carry the virus without getting sick.

“The first week they did 600 random samples from people in The Villages who were asymptomatic,” DeSantis said Saturday evening. “And the good news on this is that zero came back COVID-19 positive. … This gives us a little window into how this may have spread or not have spread in a community, you know, where you have a lot of folks who are, who are over 60.”

Researchers planned to do 2,000 tests in the first two weeks.

Meanwhile, The Villages — along with Sumter, Lake and Marion counties — has seen a sharp rise in the number of COVID-19 cases.

As of 5 p.m. Saturday, the Villages itself had 35 cases (33 in Sumter and 2 in Lake). Sumter had 40 cases, Lake 34, and Marion 17.

Overall, Florida reported 4,038 cases of COVID-19 and 56 deaths. Miami-Dade and Broward counties are hardest-hit. But Orange County is also hard-hit with 213 cases and four deaths.

People can sign up for the Villages testing at ufhealthcovid.com. The limited spots become available at 8 a.m. for the following day.

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Joe Byrnes

About Joe Byrnes


Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.