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Orlando airport refutes alarming report that 260 out of 500 tested workers had COVID-19


Not exactly

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. (Photo by Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty Images)

An alarming report by Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis that 260 out of 500 workers at Orlando International Airport had tested positive for the coronavirus was proven to be inaccurate, Click Orlando reported.

What DeSantis said: "An airport in Central Florida had a couple of cases," DeSantis said Tuesday. "They did the contact tracing. They looked over almost 500 workers, 260 working close together positive, 52 percent positivity rate on that one..."

Orlando International Airport clarifies: DeSantis' comments, were, at best, severely lacking context and presented a much more dire situation than actually existed.

Of the 500 people tested that DeSantis referred to that were tested last week, only two people actually tested positive. The rest of the positive cases represent a total dating back to March, and nearly half of them aren't even airport workers, but rather positive cases identified through contact tracing:

"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.

"These cases were all identified from and associated with positive COVID-19 cases linked to the airport. Through collaboration with airport and local authorities and thorough efforts in contact tracing, all the cases were linked and notified.

"Last week, the Florida Department of Health in Orange County (DOH-Orange) conducted 500 tests. Only two came back positive and held no risk of exposure to others. DOH-Orange has been active in monitoring and investigating every case at the airport and will continue to ensure the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance and protocols are followed closely," the statement read.

DeSantis' office issued a clarifying statement Wednesday, which did not acknowledge the governor's initial incorrect report, which spread through media before being corrected.

"Governor DeSantis has emphasized the benefit of testing for COVID-19 and contact tracing throughout the state," the statement said. "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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