Florida health officials walk back report that more than 260 Orlando airport workers tested positive for COVID-19

Florida's governor Ron DeSantis initially made the claim but was corrected by the state's health department

A nurse administers a coronavirus test. (Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

Even though it’s been reported that a whopping 260 workers at the Orlando International Airport have tested positive for the coronavirus, airport officials are pushing back to say that’s necessarily the case.

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Tuesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that after nearly 500 employees were tested for the virus, over half of them had tested positive.

“[An]airport in Central Florida had a couple of cases, they did the contact tracing,” DeSantis said during a news conference. “They looked [at] almost 500 workers [and] 260 people working close together were positive, 52 percent positivity rate on that one.”

But following that announcement, on Wednesday, Orlando airport executives clarified those numbers, pointing out that not all of those 260 people were workers and some of them weren’t even part of the testing group being referenced by the governor.

To address any further confusion the Florida Department of Health also provided further explanation on Wednesday afternoon, posting on social media, “The number of cases at Orlando International Airport is cumulative from March 2020 and includes household close contacts as determined through the extensive epidemiological investigations conducted by the Department of Health.

 

In light of this new information, the governor’s office has also since walked back on their initial claims.

“Governor DeSantis has emphasized the benefit of testing for COVID-19 and contact tracing throughout the state,” communications director Helen Ferre said Wednesday afternoon.

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“MCO had 132 employees test positive for COVID-19. Through contact tracing of those employees, an additional 128 individuals not associated with the airport tested positive for COVID-19 resulting in 260 total positive cases. We appreciate MCO’s commitment to working with the Orange County Health Department, the Florida Department of Health and for ensuring best practices are followed for the health and safety of all employees and visitors to the airport.”

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