Birx Urges Florida To Begin Pool Testing For COVID

Click Orlando reports:

Dr. Deborah Birx traveled with Vice President Mike Pence and Gov. Ron DeSantis to Tampa on Thursday to meet with medical leaders. Birx is a world-renowned medical expert in infection disease and vaccine research, according to the U.S. State Department.

While in Florida, she urged the staff at the University of South Florida to begin pool testing for the virus. “That is our breakthrough that we’ve been working on for three weeks,” Birx told reporters. “We think that Florida and this university in this particular county is a great place to start. “

STAT News has an explainer:

Take a warehouse with 100 employees. Every so often (experts are still weighing how frequently this testing should occur), the company could test the staff, and instead of running 100 separate analyses, it could group 10 samples into a pool and only run 10 analyses.

If one of those pools came back positive, those 10 employees could be retested individually to see who was infected and could remain out of work in the interim. The 90 other employees, in the pools that tested negative, wouldn’t need to be retested.